On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.
CW: ableism, suicidal ideation, descriptions of death
Short Review: This book was spawned from Satan’s armpit. Honestly, though, it’s a wild ride of a book with great character development, an awesome theme, and as many light-hearted moments as tragic moments. I’d recommend this book to anyone.
Long Review: Warning – May Contain Spoilers
If you’re looking for a story with great characters, you’ve found it. My first goal going into this book was to not fall in love with any of them, and I FAILED. The story follows several different characters beyond Mateo and Rufus, and even with their short two to three page sections, you’ll find them colorful and interesting.
The world building is great, yet subtle in that Silvera way. It’s easy to forget that this isn’t the world we live in, but it’s also enrapturing and haunting in a way that will definitely stick with you.
The diversity! Soft black boys, mentally ill Puerto Rican boys, unconventional family dynamics and Cuban representation! The diversity was lovely and refreshing and adorable.
There were some open-ended story lines, which I know can be a pet peeve for some readers. There are also some slow points in the middle, but really, they didn’t leave enough of an impression on me to really say much about.
The story features (above?) average amounts of casual ableism. Expect the usual “crazy”, “mad”, etc. There was also this gem: “I’m straight catching Mateo’s paranoia, like a cold”. This line really did not sit well with me. The idea that a mental illness can be caught “like a cold” seems like the perfect sort of negativity to feed into the idea that mentally ill people should be locked away and that they’re to be feared.
The other line that really didn’t sit right with me was, “love is a superpower that we all have”. This is in regard to romantic love, and struck me as very aromisic. Romantic love is not a universal, and there’s really nothing wrong with that.
Overall, They Both Die At The End has been one of the most impactful and heartbreaking novels I’ve read this year (thanks, Silvera). The problematic elements are minimal compared to most books, and the story and characters will haunt you beyond the last page.