**Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review**
Details & Summary
“But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same … No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”
You all know how much I love Adam Silvera. He tells powerful and emotional stories with realistic, diverse characters and a clear, hopeful message woven through the book. They Both Die at the End is no different. Even though it’s my least favourite of his so far, it’s still a very good book I’ll recommend to anyone who’ll listen to me.
At the start of the book, Mateo and Rufus have one thing in common: Death-Cast calls and tells them they’re both going to die on the same day. This might sound cliché and like an opportunity to shove the same old “carpe diem” slogan down people’s throat, but I promise this book goes beyond that. There’s no danger of rolling your eyes until they hurt.
Don’t get me wrong: They Both Die at The End inspires its readers to live the life you want or always envisioned for yourself without fear holding you back. It’s also about forgiving yourself for mistakes you’ve made along the way. Mateo and Rufus carry out these messages perfectly.
Mateo is an anxious but precious Puerto-Rican boy who regrets not taking more risks, doing more, and, basically, living more when he gets his call. He sets out to go out and do things and I felt so sorry for him knowing he has to cram a whole life of living into one day. Luckily he gets helps from his Life Friend, Rufus, a Cuban-American bisexual boy who’s a bit rough around the edges and has a few skeletons in his closet but is also a complete sweetheart. Together, they make a great team.
Honestly, their friendship was developed to perfection. Mateo being Mateo didn’t trust Rufus at all at first and there was a point where I was sure Rufus would give up on Mateo since Mateo’s anxiety stopped him from leaving his bedroom and doing things Rufus didn’t think twice about. But he doesn’t. Together, Mateo and Rufus experience as much as they can while also dealing with the hard stuff, like saying goodbye to Mateo’s dad who’s in a coma and saying goodbye to their friends. They grow closer, which was inevitable, and, without spoiling anything, I think the development of their relationship and the way it came to a pinnacle was done the right way.
As with all of Adam Silvera’s books, the characters are the stars. Mateo and Rufus are wonderful, but I also have to commend Silvera for fleshing out three-dimensional, realistic side characters such as the Plutos – Rufus’s friends – and Lidia, Mateo’s best friend and a single mom.
“You may be born into family, but you walk into friendships. Some you’ll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk.”
Aside from the characters, Silvera’s writing is as beautiful, poetic, and meaningful as ever. He manages to find the right balance between happy, light moments and feelings, and deep, raw emotions that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
The only downside to this book and the reason why I prefer History is All You Left Me and More Happy than Not is the pacing. I found it hard to get into the first couple of chapters. Yes, I liked both main characters separately but, for me, the real story didn’t kick off until they met up. And even though I understand why he did it, I’m also not the biggest fan of the many POVs, but that’s probably a personal preference (also, I wanted to read about Rufus and Mateo as much as possible).
They Both Die at the End is a story about two young boys who find out they’re going to die within the next 24 hours. Contrary to what you might think, this book isn’t all about death. It’s about life and how you choose to live it, about learning to take risks, about forgiving yourself, about being the person you’ve always wanted to be, and, above all, about not being afraid to live and love until the very last moment.