Release Day Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

September 5, 2017 book review 4 ★★★★

I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam SilveraThey Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Published by HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 5th 2017
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Death & Dying, Friendship, Social Themes

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New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day. 4 starred reviews!

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—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”

When you hear the title They Both Die at the End, you know you’re about to go into a book that won’t have a happy ending. You know it and even though you feel it in your gut while you’re reading, you still keep hoping there will be some light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. I was really excited about this book because I’ve heard some great things about Adam Silvera (this is the first book from him I’ve read) and there was already a lot of hype going around about this. I ended up putting this off because of a death in my family and not thinking I could handle reading about two boys who know from the very beginning that this is the last day they’d walk on this Earth. I just finished this novel and I honestly am kicking myself for pushing it back on my reading list! They Both Die at the End took something heart-wrenching like finding out you’re going to die today and spinning it into a lovely story about two boys who decide they are going to use this day, their End Day, to actually live. I cried, I smiled, I cried some more, and despite the circumstances surrounding this story, the hope and sense of peace Silvera instills in the reader truly makes this story captivating.

Rufus and Mateo, our two main characters, have never met before but after finding out that they were going to die today, they both take a chance at finding a Last Friend on an app where they wind up connecting. Neither boy knows why they have to die today. Mateo has lived his life up until this point shying away from the outside world in favor of staying home or at his best friend’s house instead of experiencing the world outside his apartment. Rufus lives in a foster home with a very close-knit group of fellow foster siblings. New York City is their playground and with each other by their side, they can conquer anything. These two boys randomly matching up to be Last Friends is almost destiny in a way and getting to watch them push each other out of their comfort zones to live the best possible last day ever was very rewarding as a reader. I was prepared to sob the whole way through this novel since it is focused on everything the two guys do their last day, but it’s like they used this day to finally become who they’ve always wanted to be. It was great getting to see this progression and I think Silvera hit the nail on the head when it comes to making this story reach his audience. They Both Die at the End made me stop and examine my own life and what I would do if I knew it was my last day.

I really liked how this was told in alternating third person POV chapters and also included other “Deckers,” as they’re called, and what they’re doing on their last day. It’s interesting to see how each person uses or don’t use this last chance to do something great. This book is a countdown and I got sadder and sadder as the day went on knowing the wonderful friendship and bond Rufus and Mateo were forming would never get to make it to another day.

I decided to rate this 4 stars because even though I loved the over encompassing theme to this book and the incredible character growth each boy had, there was just a tiny little something I kind of felt like was missing. I have no idea what that is or why I felt like it needed just a bit more. It’s still a great book and I encourage everyone to give it a shot! There’s also a related Twitter and Instagram campaign that correlates with the book that I think is a great touch. Sad, but really cool to get to see.


Silvera takes a concept like knowing you’re about to die and turns in into an adventure two teenage boys go on to live their End Day in the best way possible. Rufus and Mateo were relateable and their bond was wonderful to read about. You’re definitely left with a carpe diem mindset after reading!



4 Responses to “Release Day Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera”

  1. Greg

    I sometimes avoid books that I know have a sad ending as I tend to like a HEA but this one sounds great and very uplifting! And this line – “finally become who they’ve always wanted to be”- nice! I can totally see where this would an emotional and uplifting book journey! The countdown would be sad, but any book that makes us look at our own life has to be doing something right.

    Great review!

    • Christine

      I thought the ending was going to be incredibly sad, and I don’t know how Silvera did this, but it wasn’t. It felt *right* in a way. It’s weird to say that about a book dealing with two teens dying way before their time but after the long day’s journey they went through I kind of came to terms with it. It’s hard to explain haha.

  2. Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    I’m glad you were able to enjoy this one and it is reaching those who will enjoy it. Though I didn’t really like it myself I see the appeal. I did like some of the glimpses of other characters thrown in and seeing how paths crossed. 🙂

    • Christine

      It’s not like anything I typically read so it was something different to experience. It could have been better but I liked it for the most part. The other characters confused me so much at first as I wasn’t sure how they were relevant but then all the connections that played out made it pretty cool!

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