REVIEW: They both die at the end by Adam Silvera

TITLE: They both die at the end
AUTHOR: Adam Silvera
PAGES: 373

On september 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.


Let’s start with a “spoiler about the spoiler”: they will both die at the end. The title says it and I assure you that it’s true: they will actually die.
Adam Silvera isn’t the first author to do such a thing (spoilering the ending), but of course this technique isn’t very commonly employed, since it breaks one of the most importante terms of the author-reader contract, that is to say the surprise, the plot twist, the unexpected that takes your breath away.
Why does the author employ this strategy? Because the focus here is not on the ending; it is instead on the development of the story: humanity (meant as both mankind and compassion) is the real protagonist of They both die at the end.

The world created by Silvera is a place where people receive an alert before dying: when Death Cast calls them, they are sure they will die within 24 hours, no matter what they do… they are going to die. The author doesn’t explain how this mechanism works, it’s not important, since his focus is on people and their reactions: how will they live their last hours?
This book has a hint of inquietude in the background, a primordial fear that won’t abandon the reader even when he/she has finished the book. Nevertheless, They both die at the end is neither a thriller nor a philosophical book (even if it may have something philosophic): it is a young adult novel and in this lies its great strength.

The two main characters (“they” in the title), Mateo and Rufus, are kids and adult in the meantime: they are still young, but they’ve seen the worst of life and they are still processing it. Despite their young age, they are going to die. The sequence of events caused by this knowledge chances their life irreversibly.
I always love seeing the world from teenagers’ perspective, because there’s something chaotic and magical in their perception. They are naive and thoughtful, impatient and delicate, they can touch you deeply while being simple and spontaneous.

I strongly recommend this novel to those readers who are looking for a meaningful, devastating and charming experience. And remember: it is never too late to live. You should really start doing what you love and what makes you happy. Your future is uncertain, but you can change your present.

SPOILER: I would have preferred if Mateo and Rufus hadn't fallen in love in the last pages... their relationship would have been more pure in that case. Sometimes I think friendship is a bit underestimated.

Have you already read this book? Would you like to read it?


Adam Silvera, review, They both die at the end, Young Adult


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