What would you do if you knew you would die within the next twenty-four hours? This is the question two very different boys, Mateo and Rufus, have to answer as they begin to realize the extent of their own fragile mortality. From Adam Silvera, author of the acclaimed novels More Happy Than Not and History is All You Left Me, comes a speculative young adult novel about a world where citizens are notified of their death twenty-four hours beforehand, and the journey of two people who receive a call announcing their imminent demise. 

For the very shy and painfully isolated Mateo, the discovery prompts him to finally live his life to the fullest, exploring a world without fear or regrets, while looking for someone share his final undertakings. This is where Last Friend comes in, a useful app that connects those about to die with companions to spend their final hours with; Mateo meets Rufus through the app. Rufus, separated from his loved ones by a series of cruel twists of fate, sorely needs a friend as much as Mateo does, and looks to Last Friend for some personal connection and adventure for his last moments. As the two trade conversations, secrets, hopes, and regrets during their final hours, they discover new and unexpected bonds, and find the adventure and friendship that neither dreamed they would ever encounter.

Reminiscent of authors like Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Adam Silvera’s writing is filled with humanity and warmth. The novel cannily explores the various forms of love that define a person’s existence, and the worth of a life truly lived. Characters are defined by their intense compassion and love for family, as well as their capacity for joy and wonder in the face of death. The book eloquently examines the psyches of those fated to die early and those fated to stay a little longer, exploring happiness, fear, and pain in a thoughtful and empathetic manner, and rendered with beautiful prose.

If you’re willing to have your heart broken by captivating characters, breath-taking plot developments, and in-depth exploration of death, friendship, and love, then They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is a book well worth reading.

 

They Both Die at the End
By Adam Silvera
HarperCollins
Paperwork, 9780062457790, 384 pp.
September 2017


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