“They Both Die at the End” book review

Award-winning Tiktok trending book that deserves the hype


In a world where one receives a phone call of their untimely death less than 24-hours before it occurs, discover as two strangers Matteo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio fulfill a lifetime’s worth of experiences in a single day captured within Adam Silvera’s beautiful work, They Both at the End.

The New York Times Best-Selling Novel, They Both Die at the End not only addresses the unavoidable topic of death and living a life one can be happy with, but also the question of whether knowledge of one’s time of death is a blessing or a curse.

With an undisclosed time period of when it takes place, the “SLJ’s Best Book of the Year” gives readers a glimpse into what life may be like if death dates are already foreseen ahead of time. It raises concern for whether a person shall stay in fear for the rest of their lives hoping they don’t receive that Death Cast call or be thankful, letting them mend those broken relationships or go skydiving, or feeling something new. So yes, awareness of such a tool may be both a blessing and a curse and it’s the mindsets both the main characters of the novel acquire.

18-year-old Matteo Torrez and 17-year-old Rufus Emeterio are complete opposites. While Matteo is socially anxious and spends time living peacefully within his apartment to avoid any social interaction, Rufus is a care-free vengeful orphan of four months with the rest of his gang whom he considers his brothers, the Plutos. When life goes on as normal, both teenagers retrieve the familiar but well-feared siren. One while sitting on his bed watching his favorite shows, while the other beats up a guy in the parking lot for getting with his ex. Either way, the siren was the same. The siren of Death-Cast; a company that informs the caller that their death takes place within the next full day. Upon hearing the news, the obvious reaction is pain and regret, but getting past that point, one has to determine what they will do with the rest of their hours.

Through an app called “Last Friend”, a Decker, a person who will die, has the choice to spend time with another Decker or a “good soul who wants to keep a Decker company in their final hours.” Despite the many “good souls” who reached out to Matteo and Rufus via the app, mainly reaching out just to spend the night with them, the two Deckers eventually found each other. Through a series of emotional, hilarious, and eye-opening experiences They Both Die at the End effortly grasps the reader’s attention all throughout leaving for a common message, but struck more deep into a person’s heartstrings.

From encompassing different point of views from surrounding characters which the main protagonists come in contact with to the parallel structure portrayed in them to the minor details that build up and become something greater later on, the author simply amazes and is something only the reader could understand. Every little detail of the novel is meticulously written for the reader to find out later on. Simply the writing of the novel deserves applause just because of how incredibly smart it’s written. One concern from the novel may be that the point of view captured from other people’s perspectives hadn’t at times further explained what happened with those side characters, just ending their stories abruptly without further explanation. In addition, the characters are very well-written with one being incredibly pure-hearted while the other is incredibly hilarious, it seems the author wrote Matteo and Rufus to be an iconic duo.

Earning up to ten accolades including “A Book Riot Best Queer Book” and “A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year” They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera questions the debate of whether knowledge of one’s death date is beneficial or destructive. The tone of the book remains light-hearted and emotional as two teenage boys try to spend what’s “destined” to be their final hours toward cherishing every second. It confronts the unavoidable result of every living thing, death. Not only that, but the happiness of life. 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, An ALA Booklist Editor’s Choice, rates 5 out of 5 chapter books.