This review is spoiler-free.
“But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same… No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”
Published: 2017, by Simon & Schuster.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Fiction
Contains: Death, Mourning, Suicidal Thoughts, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mentions of Sexual Content, Anxiety, Depression, Violence, Paranoia, Trauma, Anger
‘They Both Die at the End’ tells the story of two strangers, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, that collide after receiving a call from Death-Cast; an organisation who call to inform you that you’re going to die within the next twenty-four hours. Up until that point, Mateo was withdrawn, hardly ever exploring the world outside of his comfort zone, whereas Rufus lived his life running away from his history. Together, they learn a lot about living during their last day alive.
This book has been on my To-Read list for as long as I can remember, having mentioned it a few times since the beginning of this blog also. However, I finally got around to reading it, and did so in one-sitting.
The story begins with Mateo Torrez, a seventeen-year-old alone in his bedroom. Mateo’s character embodies anxiety and paranoia, hardly ever delving into the world outside of his bubble. So, naturally after receiving the Death-Cast call, he’s completely unsure of himself other than the fact he wants to say goodbye to his loved ones. It’s impossible not to love Mateo. Initially, I thought I’d find his reluctance irritating, yet Silvera characterises mental illness perfectly; as someone with anxiety, Mateo’s behaviour was relatable and accurate to the situation at all points within the novel. He was an absolute delight to read about.
Rufus, the second protagonist, is Mateo’s polar-opposite. At the beginning of the novel, readers are introduced to the man in combat – violence being a reoccurring theme within the novel – before his own devastation after receiving the Death-Cast call. This was a gripping transition, showing the man at his most confident to weakest within the first part. After that point, the development in Rufus’s character was wonderful to read. Although, I was a little unsure about his character at first, tiresome of the bad-boy trope, Rufus revealed himself to be so much more as the story progressed. He was respectful towards Mateo, the pair never having a too intense argument as they both knew the struggles the other was experiencing. This only made their relationship more beautiful towards the novel’s climax… and heartbreaking.
However, it’s impossible to talk about this story without the complete joy that was Lidia. Her overall strong-independent-woman vibes throughout the story was brilliant to read about, finding myself becoming more attached to the book thanks to her. Her reaction towards Mateo was understandable and respected, and make the story’s intense plot easier to digest.
Overall, I adored this book. The writing style was simple, yet had beautiful poetics dotted within the pages. It tore my heart out then sewn it back together again so many times, but scars will remain at the heart-wrenching conclusion.