Published: 5 September 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Category: Young Adult/Contemporary
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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Is there an author that feels me with more excitement and trepidation in a single novel that Adam Silvera? Not yet. Until that time, sink into a classic Silvera tale where you’ll find yourself loving the characters, even if the title is…somewhat spoilery?
Even knowing what was coming didn’t stop me from having hope for Rufus and Mateo. There were some moments when I was hoping that there would be a way out of their Last Days, but given that it’s called They Both Die at the End, that hope was always quite small and shoved into a corner. Instead I had this feeling in my heart that, while there were moments when they had clarity about their situation, their families, past selves, etc., there was no way out. They were going to die and there was nothing to be done about it. Did that stop me from enjoying their last day alongside them? No, but still, sad the whole time.
The interweaving of the side characters was almost always engaging, putting these people in Mateo and Rufus’s path, some more so than others. There were people that made calls, an enemy of Rufus’s, workers at Make-A-Moment stations that Mateo and Rufus probably didn’t think twice about.
I got quite invested in a couple, like Delilah, the woman who got a Death Cast call but thought it was a prank by her ex-fiancee who works with the company. While we get answers for Mateo and Rufus, albeit not the happiest ones, Delilah’s final hours aren’t stated on the page. She passes by our boys, but it’s actually Victor, her ex-fiancee, that has a bigger impact in them. Knowing for sure would’ve been great, but I have to admit that the overall book isn’t her story: she’s just a character in the larger narrative.
I did come up with a lot of questions regarding the whole Death Cast system that were never really answered. Number one would probably be how was such a thing created in the first place? Next, what about people that don’t have a way to communicate with Death Cast? No phone, no email; do they just die without warning or does someone hunt them down? And finally (more or less): how many of these deaths are self fulfilling prophecies? The case with that last question is that of Rufus’s family. His parents and sister all received a call and when their car crashed into a river, they didn’t even try to save themselves. Would things have been different if they had fought for their lives? How much did their trust in this system actually lead to or cause their deaths?
There was definitely a cloud over me as I read, more so near the end because while there were still pages left, Mateo and Rufus were probably still alive. That hope is a pale shadow of what they had in spending their day, hour by hour, with each other. Finding comfort, maybe even love. Reading this book a second time might be hard, but doing so will allow a reader to see just how much these two boys really lived in their last day.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.