They Both Die at the End: Pretty self explanatory, right?

They Both Die at the End: Pretty self explanatory, right?

Gabi Altinok, Staff Writer

One would think that I would have taken the warning when deciding to read a novel titled They Both Die at the End, but I still had a tiny shred of hope that there could possibly have been some fantastical plot twist that somehow meant the two protagonists would persevere. Let’s just say that it definitely did not go how I had expected it to. However, I feel as though the blatant foreshadowing and depth of the title is what intrigues all of its readers to investigate for themselves.

Though it did seem a little cheesy at first, the destruction this book brought on my heart and soul was brutal. I am a very sentimental person (some would even go as far to say dramatic), but still the tears I shed were definitely valid. 

Author Adam Silvera begins the book by getting right into the action, which is a good depiction of the lack of time the two protagonists have until the end of the story. It is set in a dystopian world where people receive a phone call that notifies them 24 hours before they die.

Yes, it sounds just wonderful. One of the two protagonists, Mateo Torrez, is awakened by a phone call from the fictional organization Death-Cast, the call every person in that world dreads. The operator nonchalantly breaks the news to him that he is to die within the span of that day.

This is similar to Rufus Emeterio, who also receives the devastating news that day. Both boys, who come from imperfect lives, decided that they don’t want to spend their last day alone. So, what better way to spend it than with someone who shares the same End Day?

Torrez and Emeterio connect online through the Last Friend app, and quickly meet in person. Torrez is more on the cautious side, while Emeterio abides by his natural character and tries to live his last hours to the fullest.

It is a rough and uneasy start to their relationship, but what can one expect when meeting some rando from the internet? They tell each other about their lives and stories. Seventeen-year-old Emeterio has lived in foster care ever since a car accident stripped him of the only real family he had, and has yet to come to terms with his painful past. However, his sense of home was not all lost due to the friends he was able to make at his new home. 

Torrez, who is only one year older than Emeterio, has lived his life in a shell of his own regret and fear of the world, preventing himself from truly living his life. He has a dad who is currently unconscious in a hospital, leaving Torrez to deal with the news of his untimely death by himself. At least, that is until he ran into Emeterio.

Over the course of a single day, two complete strangers who were brought together by fate ended up realizing they only wish that they could’ve met under different circumstances, a way that could have provided them with more time. Up until the last day in the story, they took a journey across their home city that entailed laughing, crying, partying, running, exploring, and so much more. These two strangers’ lives had completely changed for the better. With the clashing of their personalities and duties to the ones they love, they gave each other exactly what the other needed.

One of my favorite quotes from the book will always stick with me: “I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line but I never ran the race.”

Personally, I’ve struggled for a while now with similar restrictions I’ve put on myself. As I start to get older, I’m starting to put what I want for my life into perspective. Lucky for me though, I have been given the time to do so. As shown in the book, we never know when that time will run out, so that’s why it’s important to live our lives without countless fears holding us back.

This novel showed me a true connection between two human beings that was so easily made with little-to-no time, a connection that so many people could make if they were to stop and take a look around them. This is the first book I’ve read by Adam Silvera, but it definitely won’t be the last. I would totally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys brief, yet powerful reads…just be ready to have your heartstrings pulled.