Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
death, friendship, love, celebrating life, courage
There's something beautiful about death. When I picked this book up, I didn't even bother to read the synopsis because I had heard good things about it and I just wanted to charge right in. I would say spoiler alert, but the book itself is a spoiler.
Plot and World-Building:
Conceptually, the idea of Death-Cast is intriguing. The idea is that you get a call on the day you're supposed to die. No one knows how Death-Cast knows when you're going to die, but they are never wrong. The idea of knowing when you're dying has to be a heavy weight. Sure, some people get told they have a month, 6-months, a year, but these people get 24 hours maximum. And it's all via a phone call from people that their entire job is calling these will-be-dead people called Deckers. I could probably read a handful of books from this world because I have so many questions about it. Does this make people do more reckless things on days they don't get a call? Are people more outgoing? More violent? More loving? I think if we lived in this world I would get a panic attack in the middle of the night, just staring at my phone waiting for the inevitable and that just isn't healthy.
I need someone to talk to me about this because I find it very interesting and I want more details. Even though this story is told from the perspective of Mateo and Rufus, I like that Silvera added some snippets from other characters here and there. Not only did it show that effects of "the call" on other people, but it also showed how many paths crossed with Mateo and Rufus along the way.
Overall, I really enjoyed the characters. Rufus doesn't necessarily have the best taste in friends, but they're loyal and they have his back until the end and I think that's really good. And yes, Peck, I would be extremely pissed off if my girlfriend's ex came out of nowhere and beat me up, but I don't think I would be so extremely pissed as to try and get him arrested or maimed on a day he is supposed to die. Just doesn't feel very worth it.
The characters in this were very diverse, which was a pleasant surprise. I particularly liked that Lidia was a single teenage mother that works hard to sustain them both. It shows a healthier side as opposed to what reality TV says about teen moms.
In all honesty, I thought Mateo was a recluse from the beginning and for the first half of the book I just wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him yelling "Live a little". Meeting Rufus was really good for him and watching that relationship grow and develop from the start isn't something easy to do in a 24 hour period of time.
The one thing I don't agree with is his initial feeling to not tell Lidia he's dying. It just isn't fair to her and that took precious hours that could have meant a lot.
Their contrasting personalities were interesting. Unlike Mateo, Rufus is tough and outgoing. But he has had a hard life, so I think meeting Mateo did him as much good. He needed someone to push the boundaries with him, emotionally, to help him open up a little.
The fact that this is a YA book is earth-shattering. Usually, death is too real for people to handle, especially when it's set in a world so similar to ours and the characters so similar to people we know. I think that breaks a boundary and really drives home that life is short and we should take advantage of the time we have. Counting the minute and seconds won't get us anywhere. So, take the jump off the cliff, run around in the rain, tell that person you love them.