They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
They Both Die at the End has to be one of my favourite books. You don’t have to read any further than the title to know exactly how it ends (SPOILER ALERT – THEY BOTH DIE!!), which is possibly what makes the book so enthralling. It is set in a alternate contemporary universe, which is almost the same as our world, except for a major technological advancement, known as ‘Death-Cast’.
‘Death Cast’ is a globally available service which alerts you with a phone call if you are going to die that day. The phone calls (identifiable by a famous ringtone) occurs between midnight and 3am, and Death Cast provides no information other than that you will die that day. If you ask how, why or when, they cannot answer, all they know is that you will die before the day is over.
When teenager Mateo receives his call, his father in a coma and his mother dead, he only wants to say goodbye to his best friend and her young daughter, but struggling to convince himself to leave his apartment and faced with all the possible dangers and ways he could die, he turns to the ‘Last Friend’ app, designed to match Deckers, or simply well-wishing strangers with Deckers, who want to provide company to somebody on their last day alive.
Rufus, also a teenager, hears the Death Cast ringtone while beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. He only wants to spend the day with his foster parents and siblings, but when the police appear it is clear he must leave his home behind. He too turns to the Last Friend app, where he meets Mateo, and they spend their day making each other’s last days a memorable one.
The book does deal with some more difficult themes – violence and death – but it can be enjoyed by a wide audience, as long as you are aware of this. I would recommend it to anyone over 11, or possibly a mature 10 year old reader, but with this book it really depends on each person and how comfortable they are with loss.
FictionFan1 Rating: 9/10
If you liked this author you might like: Rebecca Stead, Sharon Creech, E B White
About the author: Adam Silvera is an American author, who writes young adult fiction novels. He is best known for ‘They Both Die at the End’ and ‘Infinity Son’.
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