They Both Die at the End
Quill Tree Books
Published September 5, 2017
About They Both Die at the End
Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.
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 the 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.
Okay, so I read this book mostly as a result of my daughter complaining that she wanted to read a book where people fall in love and then they both die at the end. So I was like, I think I know the right book for this! Ha.
I love that Mateo and Rufus have such different voices. And I love the rituals between Rufus and his friends, the Plutos. I love the way he challenges Mateo to come out of the safe careful cave he has lived in, and how Mateo challenges Rufus to stop hiding from his emotions.
In the story, you get a call the day you die, letting you know it’s coming. There’s nothing you can do to stop it, and you have no idea how or when during that day it’s going to happen. It’s an interesting paradox because knowing you’re going to die changes what you do that day, but you were already going to die before you decided to make those changes.
And it’s not only Rufus and Mateo getting those calls, it’s everyone. So all around them are people who’ve gotten the call or who are living in fear of it or living wilder because they haven’t gotten it. There are whole businesses that exist for people who are living their last day, which is kind of weird to think about, but would definitely happen if we knew what day everyone was going to die.
I love the two-people-thrown-into-a-situation-together-ness of this book, and I love how knowing each other changes both Rufus and Mateo. I like that they don’t meet each other looking for love, but find it unexpectedly.
It’s very weird to read a book knowing someone will die at the end. It’s kind of like accepting that something is going to hurt you but doing it anyway, knowing that along the way, that same thing is going to make you laugh, make you think about things in a way you hadn’t thought before. I guess all that to say that I was afraid this book was going to be too sad for me, and it’s definitely sad. But it’s also so full of hope and value and love. And I’m so glad I got to read it for those things, too.
If you liked AWAY WE GO by Emil Ostrovski, definitely check out THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
One character is bisexual and another is gay.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used mainly by Rufus.
Kissing between two boys. At one point they fall asleep together.
Rufus and Mateo discuss what they think happens after death, whether there’s an afterlife. Neither believe very deeply in any sort of religion. One character believes in reincarnation.
At the beginning of the story, Rufus is beating up another boy. Later, a character brings a bomb to a gym and sets it off, killing himself and others nearby. A girl stands on top of a building, contemplating killing herself. A car accident kills another person. Someone points a gun at a member of a crowd. A fire kills someone.
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