As the title states, “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera, was a spoiler from the very beginning. Silvera has created a world in which every person’s death day is known and the group Death-Cast calls on midnight of your death day to alert you of your untimely end so that you may live your final day to the fullest. Main characters Mateo and Rufus, just on the cusp of adulthood, are dying within 24 hours and find each other through an app designed to find someone to spend their last day with.
Both boys have had tragic lives: Mateo’s mother died when he was young and his father is in a coma, leaving him alone, while Rufus’s whole family drowned and he now lives in a foster home, where he has found a new family. Silvera creates real and raw emotions, connecting the boys to their friends and family, especially as they now must leave them.
Once the boys find each other, they are able to open up to one another and be themselves for one final day. They try to pack a lifetime of experiences and emotions into a day at places designed for people told there are dying, or Deckers.
Silvera switches between the two point of views as well as others who are not dying that day, but whose stories ultimately connect to lead to a multitude of untimely deaths. Suspense leaks in throughout the novel as you wait throughout the 24 hours, never knowing when someone could die.
In a book presumably shrouded in death, Silvera finds ways to add humor and creates relatable characters. But, also, explains the importance of living without fear and as yourself, especially with the looming threat of death.
However, Silvera adds in an unnecessary and underwhelming romance. It was poorly built up and felt added purely for the convenience of finding love before they might die. The romance was the least real part of every emotion Silvera produced. Feelings did not seem to develop until well over halfway through the book with a single kiss and a proclamation of love with no evidence to support it.
Nevertheless, I was rooting for the main characters by the end and could only hope and pray that they would live. In a novel riddled with talk of death and actual deaths, it is hard not to long for characters to live and that the author would not be so cruel as to kill them off.
Spoiler: they both die at the end.