Review: The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

The First to Die at the End
Adam Silvera
Published October 4, 2022

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About The First to Die at the End

In this prequel to #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END, two new strangers spend a life-changing day together after Death-Cast first makes their fateful calls.

It’s the night before Death-Cast goes live, and there’s one question on everyone’s mind: Can Death-Cast actually predict when someone will die, or is it just an elaborate hoax?

Orion Pagan has waited years for someone to tell him that he’s going to die. He has a serious heart condition, and he signed up for Death-Cast so he could know what’s coming.

Valentino Prince is restarting his life in New York. He has a long and promising future ahead and he only registered for Death-Cast after his twin sister nearly died in a car accident.

Orion and Valentino cross paths in Times Square and immediately feel a deep connection. But when the first round of End Day calls goes out, their lives are changed forever—one of them receives a call, and the other doesn’t. Though neither boy is certain how the day will end, they know they want to spend it together…even if that means their goodbye will be heartbreaking.

Told with acclaimed author Adam Silvera’s signature bittersweet touch, this story celebrates the lasting impact that people have on each other and proves that life is always worth living to the fullest.

The First to Die at the End on Goodreads

My Review

As soon as I heard about THE FIRST TO DIE AT THE END, I knew I had to read it. My daughter and I STILL talk about THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END, so I couldn’t wait to tell her about the prequel.

When I started thinking about the idea of a prequel to Rufus and Mateo’s story, I couldn’t figure out how that would work. Like, how do you elevate a story that happens first? We had all these iconic moments with Rufus and Mateo and all these interesting intersections of characters because of the Death-Cast system. How would a story breathe new life into those things so they’re not repetitive?

Well. Let me say that one of the things I think this book does the best is to breathe fresh life into the idea of a Death-Cast world, and to create new twists and connections. It broke my heart all over again, and I loved every minute of it.

Two tiny notes: I’m not usually a fan of stories with lots of points of view. It gets easy to lose track of characters and their connections to each other. Though there’s a big cast, I kept track of everyone pretty easily. I loved the way that the different viewpoints added depth to the story.

Also, I loved the cameos from little Rufus and little Mateo! I was totally not expecting that, and it was fantastic.

Of the two books, I have to admit this one is my favorite, though. I remember feeling sad at the end of THEY BOTH DIE, but I fought back sobs at the end of this one. If you read and enjoyed Mateo and Rufus’s story, you do not want to miss THE FIRST TO DIE AT THE END.

The First to Die at the End on Bookshop

Content Notes

Content warning for gun violence, domestic violence, assault, and homophobia.

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Both Orion and Valentino are Puerto Rican and gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used pretty frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two boys. They have sex. There’s a one line description and a couple references to it.

Spiritual Content
Valentino was raised Catholic and has been told that being gay is a sin which will condemn him to Hell. Orion’s mom says God wouldn’t come between a mother and her children.

Violent Content
Orion’s parents were killed on 9/11. He describes nightmares about seeing them afterward. One brief scene shows a shooting. Reference to and brief description of someone shot to death. References to Valentino’s sister’s car accident and some brief descriptions of it. References to and depictions of domestic violence and assault.

Valentino’s parents reject him for being gay and have said some homophobic things to him. Orion worries about walking home and people identifying him as gay and that being a problem in his neighborhood.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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