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This week, Ella McCutcheon (Year 9) explores Adam Silvera's thrilling sci-fi They Both Die At the End.
They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera is a Sci-fi novel where you receive a phone call telling you only 24 hours to live. Total strangers, Mateo and Rufus, connect through an app with an aim to live their entire lives in a single day. It’s a standalone, written from the different views of the characters throughout the 5th of September 2017 (The same day it was published).
My favourite part of this book was the timestamps: 2:12 pm-2:22 pm, because, in the midst of chaos and confusion, we get this little excerpt of character development and bonding between the two main characters. They decide to take a break from all the panic and fear from the previous chapters and take time to play on some monkey bars and act like little kids. The book is very centred on the theme of upcoming death, and that makes the rest of the book quite gloomy, heavy and suspenseful, leaving the readers on edge the whole book, which adds to the mystery of the ending. But in the quick 10-minute difference we see the characters take a break from worrying about what’s happening in the future and focus on the current moment they’re in. They take a moment to stop and accept the apparently inevitable, one of them gives away his prized possession to a teenager nearby, which showed us how much he’s matured in the short 14 hours we see him. We see the characters unwind and enjoy each others company for a while and put their problems away for 10 minutes. This is where the characters move from being strangers to friends and they share stories and experiences together, forming a bond and connection between them that we haven’t seen before.
Two things I thoroughly enjoyed about this book was the structure, the first was the way the chapters were all time-stamped, almost like a diary, and the point of view is listed at the top of the page. This helped readers understand some of the motives and reasoning behind the characters actions, and how specific outcomes affected them. It gave me a solid idea of their different backgrounds and how they grew throughout the book. It also was interesting because we got to see the supposed ‘antagonist’ planning their final moves and the thoughts and organisation that went into it. Another thing that I thought was a nice touch, was the way the book is split into 4 separate parts: Death-cast, The Last Friend, The beginning and The End. These parts separate the 4 stages the boys went through from start to finish: Part one; Death-cast, is where we see one of the two main characters named Mateo, receive a call that he’s going to die today and his reaction, the next part is where he meets a stranger Mateo, through an app. The second to last part is the two of them bonding and spending time together, and we see the character development take place while seeing the supposed antagonist plotting his scheme. Lastly, in ‘The End’ the action takes place, there are some guns fired and clubs escaped from, and if you want to hear the ending, read the book.
One way this book could be improved is by adding a deeper purpose to the text, the whole storyline revolves around how two boys are supposedly going to die, and how much their characters change in the 22 hours they spend together. But outside of that, there isn’t a solid plot line or a vendetta that needs to be justified. It’s simply 2 people bonding over the idea of death and living nevertheless. It’s hard to see a point to a plotless book with an inevitable ending, but that’s kind of the irony of reading it, you’re sabotaging yourself due to the title drawing in your curiosity. This book could have built on one of the boys needing to repay a debt or trying to prevent a certain action from happening. Instead, it’s two boys counting down the minutes until their last breath. This book has so much potential to be a mystery or romance book, but I think the main reason the author chose to write this book without a clear purpose is to convey the message that even though we are young and healthy and think we have forever, we don’t. We’re all on a timer, we just down know how long until it goes off. So we need to live in the moment and remember our days are numbered.
To summarise, ‘They Both Die at The End’ by Adam Silvera is a heart-wrenching, LGBTQ+, YA, fiction piece that focuses on two strangers named, Mateo and Rufus. They both received a call to tell them they were dying in the next 24 hours. It focuses on how they spend their last day living on the verge of death. A favourite part of mine was when the boys slowed down for a minute and bonded over talking in a park and catch up with each other. I really enjoyed the formatting of this book which included a diary layout with time stamps and separate points of view. And also how the author decided to separate the 4 main ideas of the text, by physical pages. I personally thought the writer could have added more plot into the book apart from the message that we only live once. Overall I recommend you read this book if you like something heartwarming and wholesomescc.wheelers.co/title/9781471166211/epub with a twist that you’ll never see coming.
Keen to read? You can check out Adam Silvera's They Both Die At the End at the Frances Compton Library, or pick up an e-book copy!
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