They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Published by Harper Collins
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is a novel about an organization called “Death Cast”. Death Cast randomly selects people from around the world letting them know they have less than 24 hours to live. After their selection, the two main characters, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio meet on the app “Last Friend”–an app created for “Deckers”–the people given the death alert. This novel is written from multiple point of views, connecting the chapters either directly or through foreshadowing and acts like a diary for multiple characters.
Mateo Torrez is an 18-year-old who unfortunately receives a call telling him that “…sometime in the next twenty-four hours [he’ll] be meeting an untimely death”(pg. 6). Mateo was devastated to hear the news; especially knowing he wouldn’t ever be able to say goodbye to his father–who was in a coma. He lost his mother at birth–making the only person he had was his best friend Lidia, who he was way too mortified to break the news to. His feeling of isolation prompted him to create a “Last Friend” account, leading him to his Last Friend, Rufus Emeterio. Rufus Emeterio received the call the same day as Mateo. Rufus had already lost both his parents and sister to Death Cast, making him a foster child at the age of 17. He was inconveniently caught up in a fight while getting the call from Death Cast. The police were called on him, causing him to run away and ultimately make a Last Friend–Mateo.
The incorporation of a social media platform into the story is a great idea as it really connects to our society today and everyone would be able to relate to it, one way or another. Before Mateo and Rufus met in person, the two messaged and video chatted each other on the Last Friend app. The teens decided they trusted each other enough to meet. Many people seek friends or people to talk to online and this is a reflection of how people nowadays use social media to meet new people.
They Both Die at the End covers many sensitive topics such as the loss of loved ones, suicide and emotional trauma. I would not recommend this novel to younger people or people with similar experiences. I’m not the type of person to be necessarily affected by such matters but it disturbed me. The novel caused me to think about questions I’ve never really thought about in depth, such as what I think happens after death or what would happen if my life was cut short and I wasn’t being able to experience it the way I would’ve wanted to?
I found that the author was specific about different personality traits and details about both of the main characters. From the start, Mateo was portrayed as a shy and introverted person, whereas Rufus was more confident and comfortable with himself. There are also pages in the book that show their Last Friend profiles and all the information the characters put up about themselves–see below, for example–this really gave me a better idea of who they were.
I definitely found this book to be compelling. It made me want to read more and more after every chapter as I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters and whether they were going to live into the next chapter. Due to the author being specific on who the characters were and their personal struggles, it made me feel empathetic and gave me the desire to know more about them. There were so many plot twists and unexpected situations that most definitely messed with my brain and emotions.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera takes into account the importance of life and living in general. Life can be hard without having people around you, especially your loved ones, but you should still make the most out of it.