Published by Simon & Schuster Australia, HarperTeen on September 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Diversity, LGBT, Science Fiction
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When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn't know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it's his last chance to get out there and make an impression.
Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it's time to run.
Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love...
Another beautiful, heartbreaking and life-affirming book from the brilliant Adam Silvera, author of More Happy Than Not and History Is All You Left Me.
What would you do if you were given 24 hours notice before you died? Would you spend time with your loved ones, face your fears, do what you’ve only dreamed of and finally face the inevitable?
In They Both Die at the End, that’s exactly what Rufus and Mateo do when they discover it’s their End Day. They look for companionship, spend time with family and friends, go on adventures and experience what they’ve never had before.
I’ve gotta say, for a book where the ending is in the title, They Both Die at the End caught me off guard with how emotional I was at the end. You’ll be crying all the tears, because even though it’s inevitable, the beautiful legacy left behind by these two boys will touch your heart.
These two beautiful boys had so much chemistry and such an adorable dynamic – Rufus, from the wrong side of the tracks, to the more sheltered Mateo. While both of them searched for companionship on their end day, little did they know they would also find true love as well. And that’s what got me.
“But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same … No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”
It’s not immediately evident at the start that Mateo is gay and I loved how he broke out of his shell to embrace his feelings for Rufus. For someone who never walks on the wrong side of the road, who always does what he’s told and who has never stood out, Rufus makes him feel special.
Rufus on the other hand, has a strong bond with his close knit friendship group. He’s bisexual and is struggling with getting over his feelings for his ex-girlfriend. He starts the book off punching her new boyfriend, but he soon discovers that this has consequences and he spends his last day coping with them but also finally getting over her.
With another fascinating Adam Silvera twist, the speculative twist in this book is that people discover it’s their End Day from a phone call. The technology generated in the world supported this idea well, from the Tinder-like app that connected these people with a support network, to how end day sufferers got VIP treatment everywhere they went, to the experiential virtual reality generators that would provide a once in a lifetime experience, such as sky diving or surfing.
“Yes, we live, or we’re given the chance to, at least, but sometimes living is hard and complicated because of fear.”
The world was also further developed through the third party chapters from people who Rufus and Mateo encountered, from the jaded back office employee, to Mateo’s best friend. This gave us a reprieve from the sad, touching and hilarious journey between the two friends, but it also added to our understanding of the world and its characters.
As an #ownvoices book, the diversity in They Both Die at the End was also fantastic. While both of the characters obviously had feelings for one another, one had previously come out while the other was still cautiously getting in touch with his sexuality. I loved both of the journeys that they went through in terms of letting go of their worries and fears and just letting the love grow between them. Mateo is also Puerto Rican and Rufus is Cuban-American, which came through in their experience with their families.
Heartfelt, insightful and filled with charm, They Both Die at the End is a thought-provoking book about two boys who only have 24 hours to live. As their relationship grows and they experience life like never before, it’s a book that will tug at your heart strings, making you want to live life to the fullest. You’ll also want to have the tissues ready for this one!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thanks to HarperTeen for the review copy via Edelweiss!
They Both Die at the End is available from Australian bookstores for RRP $17.99.