You may recall not that long ago that Adam Silvera reduced me to a puddle of tears with his second novel History is All You Left Me, a sort-of love story between two boys, told in two narrative timestreams where one of them is dead or soon to be. Yes that one.
Simon and Schuster kindly sent me over his third novel and I must admit, having just finished History I figured I wasn’t emotionally prepared to read this book based on the title alone.
They Both Die at the End is a near-future novel set in New York, where on the 5th of September 2017 two boys – Mateo and Rufus – both get their End Day call from Death-Cast. That means today is the last day they will be alive. Death-Cast don’t appear to know the details, and certainly never share it, but it appears that Mateo and Rufus are both facing the end of their lives at 16 and 17.
Mateo is cautious and mostly housebound, terrified for the day his call will come. On his End Day, his father is still hospitalised in a coma and his best friend occupied with her young child.
Rufus is brash, swagger, boldness; a member of the foster home gang, The Plutos. His End Day finds him beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, and due to a series of run ins with the cops, he finds himself without his gang for his last day.
Both boys come together using the Last Friend app, designed to unite “Deckers” (people due to die that day) for a memorable experience, hoping to find someone to see out their final day with.
What follows is a wonderful novel of goodbyes and firsts, of throwing off the shackles of societal embarrassment, for doing what you always wanted to do, who you always wanted to be if you’d only given yourself a chance. I’m not going to reveal whether the title is prophetic or not; needless to say you spend the whole book hoping that it isn’t, as they escape near-deaths and Silvera throws in side-plots to make you doubt the whole experience.
Once again, Adam Silvera has created a beautiful novel around the theme of death, but this time his characters face it head on, choosing to see out their last day in style. You will need a box of tissues for this one, though with a linear storyline you won’t be reaching for them every few minutes as I had to with History.
I strongly recommend this book. Adam Silvera has once again shown he is the LGTBQ+ YA novelist to look out for this year. I’m going to seek out a copy of More Than Happy, his first novel which was only released in Hardback over here, but I’m going to wait until I’m emotionally prepared again. I know his deal now.
Interested? Get it here.
What to read next:
- Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
- Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me this copy.