Published by Simon & Schuster Ltd on October 4, 2022
Genres: LGBT, Young Adult
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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.
Just finished The First to Die at the End, and I’m left with some really profound thoughts about life and the way you are living it. Which is exactly how I felt after reading the first book, They Both Die at the End.
For those of you who haven’t read the first book, the series is about people finding out that they are going to die from the Death Cast. It is a subscription service that will notify you 24 hours before your time is up, and you can choose how you live out the rest of your life. TFTDATE is actually a prequel, as we see some insight into the company’s founder and how things are run in the background. I liked this little addition as we see the company’s employers and founders grapple with their lifechanging new invention (even though we didn’t get to find out what the secret was behind predicting people’s lives).
The series also follows two queer boys as they meet each other, spend time with each other and change each other’s lives through love and kinship.
“We’re in this together, Orion. I want to help heal your heart in every way possible. But only if you’re ready.”
Both Valentino and Orion have complicated lives and relationships with their family, and I loved how they decided to spend the last day of Valentino’s life together. As the book only covers 24 hours, a lot happens during this time, with some touching, beautiful, and heart wrenching moments in between. I loved seeing landmarks around New York, as Orion takes Valentino around like a tourist and shows him different parts of the city.
Not everything is peachy however, as the book explores some final regrets and sad moments as Valentino tries to reunite with his twin sister. He comes from a religious family in Arizona, with estranged parents, and he grapples with whether he’ll call his parents during his Death Day.
I want to make great memories. Something to look back on whenever existing seems hard.
Orion is also grappling with a heart condition, which will send him into sporadic heart attacks whenever the tension gets too high. He’s also dealing with grief of losing his parents due to the Twin Towers incident when he was young. There were a lot of highs and lows during the book as he gets to know the person who will literally save his life, which was incredibly bittersweet.
As a side story, there’s also Gloria, who is in an abusive marriage with her husband. She is staying with him due to her child, and it was interesting to see this explored with the theme of living the life that you have, the way you want to live it.
Exploring what someone with a full life ahead of him would do in his final moments, The First To Die At The End really makes you think about how life should be lived. While we don’t have a Death Cast to tell us when our time is up, we do have only one life to live, and it should be spent without any regrets, with the people that love and appreciate us for who we are. Sometimes that is our family, our longtime friends, or even someone who was a stranger at the start of the day.
The First to Die At The End is a really beautiful and thought provoking book, that will leave you contemplating how you would live if today was your last.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, murder, homophobia
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia and Tandem Collective for sending me a review copy!
The First To Die at The End will be available on 5 October in Australian bookstores for RRP$24.99 or from The Book Depository.
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