3 stars · fiction

they both die at the end didn’t manage to make me cry

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they both die at the end

author : adam silvera

pages : [hardcover] 384

favorite character : rufus

summary :

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 and to live a lifetime in a single day.

review :

A big thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an E-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I was really really really excited to read this book.

This is the first book by Adam Silvera that I’ve read and when I attended Book Con this year, I think this was one of the most popular ARCs floating around the scene. I’m not a typical contemporary reader–there are times I absolutely love them, times I hate them, and I can never read too many of them in a row. But I dove right into this book without knowing about it’s compelling concept: somehow, someone has developed Death Cast, a system where if you are slated to die on a certain day, you’ll have your call by 2 A.M. that it’s your day to die.

Of course, this leaves so many questions. How do they know this? Who determines it? Are people dying because they’ve been told to die, or is this thing that predicts their deaths also predicting everything they’ll do after learning they’ll die? What about the people who end up dying between midnight and 2 A.M? Do they not get a call, or do they get their call the day before?

So many questions, and I love how the characters address some of the questions themselves, because they don’t know. The operators at Death Cast don’t know. The people getting the calls don’t know. The people left behind by their dying loved ones don’t know. They can question and beg and plead for answers all they like and, in this book as in reality, there are no full answers. Which I liked.

Another thing I loved was the diversity in this book. Most of the main characters are people of color, one of the narrators is bisexual, and the other never outright defines his sexuality apart from giving enough evidence that it certainly isn’t straight. That was awesome.

But, what I didn’t love, what ended up distancing me from this book I wanted so desperately to love, was the writing. It didn’t grip me; it felt too bland. I couldn’t connect fully with the other characters because some of the dialogue felt clunky and jarred me out of the story. In the plotline, there were some pieces that read too much to me like things that often make me put down contemporaries. Pieces that are so obviously slated to be symbolic, or quirky, or meaningful, that just don’t feel realistic or flow reasonably in the setting. I won’t give any specific examples because of spoilers, and quoting from an ARC, but it’s something I ran into before.

And, I have to admit, I cry a lot over books. It isn’t unusual for me. This book didn’t really get to me until hours later, when I was still considering how it had made me feel. I think, most importantly, it made me consider what I would do if I knew it was my last day to live. Or what I would do if it was my last day and I never knew it until it was too late. Would I want to know? I don’t think so. But, as They Both Die at the End shows, maybe something great can come out of the knowing.

This book certainly wasn’t for me. I don’t regret reading it, and I’m definitely going to try other books by this author. Still, I won’t be throwing this into any recommendations I give out.

3/5 stars

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2 thoughts on “they both die at the end didn’t manage to make me cry

  1. I normally want ALL THE ANSWERS, but for some reason the fact that literally NO answers were given in this book didn’t actually bother me too much? I guess because the book wasn’t ABOUT Death Cast, it was about two boys facing their last day on earth way, way too early.

    I’m so sad you didn’t end up loving this one, Kayla! I have to say that I didn’t cry, either, but that’s because it’s VERY hard to make me cry in books (I think I’ve only ever cried in 10, and that includes ones from my childhood, haha).

    There were a few ~symbolic~ scenes in this one, but I guess they were kind of to be expected, given the content? Some of them did feel a bit over the top at times but I think most things would feel over the top on the last day of your life, you know?

    Have you read History Is All You Left Me? I liked that one better than this because that emotional connection to the protagonist was there a lot more than in this one. It’s another sad book, but less dramatic than this one, I guess? I highly recommend it anyway, since it’s a fave!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to never cry. And then I guess I grew up and started FEELING THINGS.
      Wow. That sounds terrible. XD But I seriously cry way too often now and tell everyone to just get used to it.
      But I wanted to love Adam’s writing so much which is part of why I was so sad!!! I’m definitely going to try his other books. I can FEEL the potential there to find something I love!!

      Like

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