My rating: 4 of 5 stars
They Both Die at the End. That tells you exactly what is going to happen in the book, yet you hope the entire time that it won’t be true. This book made me so happy and sad. The journey was hopeful despite the dark theme and you really connect with the characters. This was my first Adam Silvera novel and I am definitely interested in reading more of his books now.
I also listened to the audiobook for this, rather than physically reading it. I really enjoyed the two narrators who voiced the main characters, Mateo and Rufus. Both Silvera’s words and the narrator’s execution made the characters come to life. My one negative for the narration was the women who voiced the supporting characters when the chapters switched to their points of view.
I would have been happy with the story being told from just Mateo and Rufus’ points of view. Some of the alternative viewpoints added an interesting note to the story or helped weave seemingly unrelated events and lives together, but I didn’t feel that they were all relevant and occasionally took me out of the story.
I felt that the two main characters were very well fleshed out and seemed like teenage boys living out their last day. Mateo’s anxiety was unique and nicely represented. I also loved that this was an own voices novel, so there was diversity and representation. The novel completely revolves around these two and it’s perfect that way. I also feel that Silvera’s side characters were decently developed, you could see that they were each unique people but they weren’t so detailed that they took away from Mateo and Rufus’ stories.
Honestly, even though you know what’s coming the book manages to keep you completely emotionally engaged and on your toes. Right in the beginning of the book one of Rufus’ friends starts to cry because he didn’t get to hug his best friend. It was so sad, so soon and we hadn’t even experienced hundreds of pages of development and heart-string tugging yet. I knew right then that I was in for a book that would have an affect.
I am not entirely sure how I feel about the world-building. The contemporary aspects of it were fantastic and I could completely see each place that the two visited. It was the Death-Cast aspect of it that felt a little flimsy to me. I think that part of the story is the mystery of it, but I do wish we learned more. It one of the few things that I felt could be improved in this book.
I really enjoyed this read and would highly recommend it if you like character-driven novels and don’t mind a good cry at the end..