I’ve been in a reading slump for some time now, I’ve been reading the same Aristotle book for a year or so now, don’t get me wrong I love my non-fiction (especially philosophy) but for the most part, it’s just been tough to read stuff. I was a student leader for the first years in my course and the teacher who invited me (she’s really great, I love her, she was my tutor last year and she’s a really great mentor) gave me a $30 gift voucher from Readings (a bookstore here in Melbourne). I bought They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – and thus, here is the review of Silvera’s book! There will be spoilers so you are warned!
Non-spoilers: BUY THIS BOOK PLS, THXS.
First off, fuck this book. It was so hard not to cry on public transport as I was reading this. It was so freaking sad, so be prepared to cry honestly. I enjoyed it so much, and the title is technically a spoiler so, in the end, you know they will both die. I really enjoyed Mateo and Rufus, and they’re both characters of colour who are also sexual diverse because we live in this world where – not everyone is white, and we live in this world where – not everyone is straight. I favour this types of novels because of its realism even though it deals with Supernatural elements.
About this book, it follows Mateo and Rufus on their last day on this Earth – their death day, as they were both called by this Supernatural entity called “Death Cast” who call people and say by the end of the day you will die, you can die in the next five minutes or the next 23 hours – no one knows. It sucks – imagine getting that call. Silvera writes about a mother who got a call about her four-year-old child dying today and it just like – that’s freaking heartbreaking, even now typing it I have goosebumps! It deals with a supernatural reality, who are these people that know when you’ll die but it’s in our world, they use Instagram (which I really loved the motif of it) and social media apps and websites. It looks into the world of not on Mateo and Rufus but also the world of their friends, and strangers who were either called or not.
I think the one thing I didn’t like was the reference to this actor Howie Maldonado who got the call and died. He’s a very secondary character but he played this bad boy in this movie that was a book and it’s about Wizards… get what I mean? I really really really hate it when books try to make their own Harry Potter in it? Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell did it (and she even wrote the book as well for the fanfiction that was a book in this world, complicated stuff). I get it though, but I don’t know, it bugs me. I guess in that world Harry Potter doesn’t exist, so you need something to do it? But why is it that it’s in every YA novel?
I enjoyed the style of how each chapter was set out. It was the person, the time and then the text, it was different to other books and I enjoyed that, with each act broken up with the time it started, the name of the section and a quote.
I wish we knew about Death Cast, how they came about, how do they know who lives and who dies. Does everyone stay up past midnight so they get a call? How long? Rufus and Mateo are the types of people to stay up, but what about the other people? I wouldn’t mind a novella about this, I did enjoy the world building, you didn’t have to do much because it’s set in New York, but Death Cast I felt could’ve been stronger, I like the mystery – but there’s a point, especially when Silvera’s POV jumps from Mateo and Rufus to people who work there (but it’s only twice it happens I believe).
What I loved about Rufus and Mateo is the natural relationship between them, and even though they were dying today, Rufus let Mateo do the things he needed to do: visit his dad and visit his friend. It would’ve been nice if Rufus had things, but his family died already and his friends were locked up at Rufus’ funeral (that was a whole saga in its own). I think the overarching theme of this story that I love is strangers, I take public transport a lot, from going to university or meeting up with friends or my partner, and I always think about their lives, what they’re doing, what stop they’re getting off at, if they’re happy, who they love, etc., and strangers can have an impact on your day, and I like that about this story, that all these strangers somehow impact Rufus and Mateo’s day, or they impact someone else’s. Rufus gave his bike to a total stranger – since he doesn’t need it – this made this stranger happy, and Mateo left a book he bought for a stranger on the train. There’s also a guy who got his phone call and blew up his local gym, leaving Mateo and Rufus alive but hurt – this impacted them because they were scared that this was their last time seeing each other.
The one thing that really made me happy, was that Rufus is bisexual. I don’t read many novels about same-sex sexuality, and with one of the main male characters bisexual, not only that but they’re not white is crazy and I love it.
This book was very enjoyable, and I couldn’t wait to pick it up and read it, so if you’re a fan of young adult and/or want to get out of a reading slump I highly recommend you pick up this book!
In other news, I have a Medium account that I forgot to post things to, so guess who’s posting things to it! Me! It’ll be most of my Non-fiction stuff I write, I currently have an assignment I did on my parent’s divorce. Give it a read and follow if you want, I’ll post more things there soon.