Goodreads: They Both Die at the End
One day shortly after midnight, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio receive the call: today is the day they die. With fewer than 24 hours to make life meaningful, they find themselves drawn together by the Last Friend app. Hopefully, they can find peace and create a little adventure before it is too late.
“I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line but I never ran the race.”
Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End is a poignant look at what it means to die–and what it means to live. In an alternate world, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive a call from Death-Cast notifying them that they will die that day. Mateo, who has always been a little afraid to let go or even to leave his room, hopes to make his last day count by doing all the things he never dared. Rufus finds himself unexpectedly separated from the friends he loves, and hopes he will not have to die alone. They connect through the Last Friend app and, together, make special moments, but also find that death allows them to face the world, and themselves, with unexpected honesty.
This book is, of course, special because it makes readers ask themselves big questions: what makes a life worth living, what kind of legacy can we expect to leave behind, and why we often leave so many important things undone and unsaid. It makes readers ask themselves what they would choose to do if they knew their last day on Earth. Visiting friends, connecting with family, trying to repair relationships, and travelling come to mind. But They Both Die at the End suggests that the little moments also matter–riding a bike, sharing a laugh, performing mundane chores with friends.
But the book does not rely simply on its ideas to impress readers. It also features compelling and sympathetic characters. Mateo and Rufus feel like very real teenagers, not an adult’s conception of what teenagers are like or should be like. Even the dialogue feels authentic, not like the awkward slang authors sometimes write while trying to pretend they know how teens talk.
They Both at the End will likely leave readers emotional train wrecks. It is a heartbreaking story because, after all, the title tells us they both die at the end. But it is a story that is worth the pain.