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A Book Review of “They Both Die at the End”

I love a good slow burning friends-to-romance novel as much as anyone else, but this one had me rethinking things a bit. “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera was an interesting read with an equally interesting plot line, but something about it’s narrative threw me off. 

I checked out this book because I had heard a lot of good things about it online. Many people had mentioned how much they liked the storyline and the romance that developed, however I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. The story focuses on the lives of two young men named Mateo and Rufus. They live in a world where you are given a call on the day you are going to die, this allows people to spend their last day making memories, settling debts and saying good bye to loved ones. On the day this story centers itself around, both Mateo and Rufus receive their call. 

Rufus is a rough around the edges but genuinely kind person when you get to know him. He starts out his day with his friends getting into trouble when he receives his call. After he knows the end of the line is coming his way his friends and foster family throw him a funeral until it’s interrupted by the cops searching for Rufus because of his previous mischief.

Mateo on the other hand is a very benign and cautious person. He wakes up to his call telling him he only has a day left to live and he immediately wants to hole up and avoid any danger that may come his way. Eventually though, he downloads an app designed to help those who received their call find a last friend to spend their day with. Through this app Mateo eventually ends up meeting Rufus and the two begin walking around the city making peace with leaving the living world. 

While the premise of this story is promising, I found that the execution was a bit lacking. The story became cluttered and clunky with the chiming in of random characters talking about their day. The story also seemed to indicate a strictly friendly vibe between Rufus and Mateo for the majority of the book until it switched up in the last few chapters. From that point on it seemed almost like everything became rushed and underdeveloped. Even the ending, which was the only certain thing in the book, wasn’t finished in my opinion. 

Overall, while I liked the premise and I enjoyed certain aspects of the book, in the end I just don’t think it was my cup of tea. Because of that, I give this book a 3.5/10.

Jordan Lear

George Mason University '22

Jordan is a senior at George Mason University. She's pursuing a degree in Communication with a concentration in Media Production and Criticism and a minor in Film and Media Studies. Jordan loves to hang out with her friends and try to make them laugh. She's pretty outgoing and will totally talk your ear off if you mention one of her many random obsessions.
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