They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera (368 pages)
Overview: Mateo and Rufus are both going to die at the end, but I'm guessing you got that from the title. The thing is, Mateo and Rufus don't know each other till the day they are going to die. After getting their calls from Death Cast, the new organization that lets everyone know that they are going to die with a call sometime after midnight. While trying to digest the news, they both turn their attention to the Last Friend app in search of finding another "decker" to spend their final day with. As the boys try to think of ways not to waste their final moments, they start to form a bond they never anticipated. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 I have to applaud Silvera for keeping his (mostly) duel prospective narrative voices so separate. Mateo and Rufus not only have different traits but totally different dialects.
Mateo is Puerto Rican, quiet, and totally paranoid with a hyperawareness about safe. Both careful and caring, quite Mateo made for a very comfortable character to read through.
Rufus completely contrasts him. He's Cuban and bold, surrounded by friends. But both boys are lost, though rightfully so. Neither has had a chance to cement their identity or really experience anything in the world.
Silvera also throws in birds eye views of a couple of other characters through a third person lens. I loved this addition to the narrative where we get to snatch glimpses into the lives of people Rufus and Mateo pass during their journey as well as what happens to their friends.
Plot: 4 There's plenty of action to keep readers moving through the book. Rufus and Mateo pack their day full of exciting activities from personal ventures to say goodbye to typical Decker activities manufactured to make final days extra special. The only plot gap, per say, that I found was the lack of clarity about the predetermined-ness of the Death Cast system. Are all the deaths set in stone and the date is unchanged by what happens during life or does your actions and place in the world influence if you suddenly show up on Death Cast's list. The characters both seem to think they can influence when the death occurs while also believing they can't change a thing.
Writing: 4 I picked up this book before because I really enjoyed watching Adam Silvera at a book event I recently attended. The plot intrigued me, and Adam is super nice, so I bumped this book up my list even thought I didn't love History. I'm so glad I did. This book just brought something more to the table, in my opinion.
I appreciate that he built the voices so well I could tell the characters apart blindfolded. It's something you don't see often. He nails the pacing with quick chapters that keep it moving. Finally, I loved how he weaved the parallel narratives into the story, giving us a broader look at the world and giving prospective on other people's lives.
Be Empathy:Book Event Wrap Up (ft. Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli, and David Arnold): Article Here