Book Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Whenever there’s a particular hype about a book, I’m usually quite reluctant to buy it straight away. I normally get there in the end but I’m a bit of a reading snob sometimes and hype does nothing but sway me away from something. However, I’m incredibly glad I went against my usual stubbornness and bought myself a copy of the newly-acclaimed YA fiction contribution They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera.

Set in an alternative reality where people are notified of their impending death, we are introduced to two young men, Mateo and Rufus, who have recently been notified that the present day is their End Day. They enlist the help of a social networking application, Last Friend, and meet to share their last day together, making the most of their last 24 hours on Earth. The premise of the application is to meet up and live out your last day wholly and make it one to remember. Mateo and Rufus intend on doing just that and set out together as Deckers (the name given to those set to die that day) to make memories and explore whole new emotions.

What would you do if you had one last day to live? After the initial shock of discovering that they’re going to die, Mateo and Rufus set out to accomplish everything they hope they would have by the ends of their lives. They are not aware of the way in which they will day- adding to the tale in the sense that every action they undertake could consequently result in their death. Avoiding taking lifts and using stairs, refusing to ride on the back of bicycles some of the ways in which they attempted to prolong their already premature deaths. The characters are ones that I found intriguing and got attached to quite quickly: Rufus, an extroverted young man who had already been through so much after witnessing his parent’s deaths, contrasted with the quiet and introverted character behind Mateo.

I’ve never read anything by Adam Silvera before but I am tempted to pick up a few of his other novels now. I loved his style of writing and the flick between perspectives: the third person accounts of other characters involvement in the tale added somewhat to the progression of the story and I was interested to find out how all the stories would intertwine and come together.

The feedback on the book promised me tears and more tears, and while I didn’t find myself reaching for the Kleenex this time, the book was incredibly beautiful and was the perfect book to get me out of the reading slump I’d found myself in.