THIS REVIEW CAN SPOIL YOU THE BOOK.
You will love this book if you like:
- young adult,
- love stories,
- sad stories.
You should read it during:
- halloween (mostly because it’s about death),
- a day you feel calm and relaxed so you won’t cry too much.
- quick and short read,
- easy to understand and to follow.
- LGBTQIA+ (one of the main character is gay, the other bi),
- POC (one of the main character is Puerto-Rican, the other is Cuban).
TW: death, sickness, coma, fights + it has been brough to my attention that this book presents an ableist language, which can be very triggering for people (I tried to find reviews to illustrate this but people only mention it, so I can only recommend to be careful while reading it).
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.
When I first finished this book, I decided to give it 5/5 stars. Why? I didn’t know myself. I just knew that I loved Adam Silvera and that I loved this book— still, I could feel that I was disappointed with something but I couldn’t quite put a name on it.
For this review, I will first present you all the things that I loved about this book. Then, I will move on to the things that got me thinking if I was disappointed or not. Finally, I will explain what I wish could have been done differently, and so why I decided to lower my grade to 4 stars.
WHAT I LIKED
- The main idea
As soon as I knew about this book, I had to have it. Regardless of my love for Adam Silvera, the title was simply brilliant— I never read a book spoiled by the own author. It got me really intrigued and it quickly became one of my most anticipated releases of 2017.
When we got the plot, I was even more excited. An app to find a last friend on your dying day? A love story between two men? Sign me in. And it is true, even after reading it, that this book was simply brilliant. I have never read anything like that before and am glad I read it for it truly was impressive.
- The characters
This was to be expected. Adam Silvera knows how to create and write characters. He also knows how to make the reader falls in love immediatly. Of course, it happened once again while I was reading They Both Die At the End.
From the first chapters, I was hooked and way too attached. Even though the narrator kept saying that no matter what, they both die at the end, you start to hope that it won’t happen.
But if it doesn’t happen, then it will fail the title and be disappointing.
But if they die, that will break your heart.
Do you see the problem?
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY
- Too many point of views
That’s the first thing that got me confused. After a few chapters, we began to have more point of views added to the story. All starts with the same sentence, saying that this character won’t die today, and presents you in a few pages what they are doing, thinking or else. Some are related to the main characters, some aren’t.
At first, I thought it must have been to add more thoughts about death and life, to see how people reacts differently when they learn about the death of someone or when they simply live in this world. However, some point of views felt really useless to me and unecessary to the story. I read some reviews before posting mine and noticed that a lot of people felt that way too.
- Everything was happening too fast
Here we go— now that was the main problem.
The whole book is short— the hard cover edition is only 384 pages long. It may seem long for some people, but it still is written in a pretty big font and few words were on the pages.
The fact that everything happenes too fast does make sense in a way since the story starts at midnight and ends later that day. That’s more or less 24 hours for the author to make his two characters meet, know each other, fall in love and eventually die.
But because of this 24 hours rule, the whole thing felt rushed to me. I know that if you have one day left you wouldn’t care about anything else and would fell in love in a second. But, as I read the book, it felt weird. Mateo and Rufus got closer but it was never really described. And when it did happen, I was happy but it still felt weird— no feelings were detailled. I wasn’t surprise because I knew it was a love story but someone who wouldn’t know anything could feel off when they both starts saying “I love you to each other” after meeting a few hours earlier.
And that’s the problem: the book was already short and the feelings were never really developed. You couldn’t really understand that they were starting to like, well love, each other and that’s what disappointed me. Based on History is All You Left Me, I know that Adam Silvera is able to write something beautiful and deep— here, something was lacking.
- Lack of depth
And now this is why the emotions were never really detailled— because the whole book lacked of depth.
Besides from the emotions, a lot of things weren’t as detailled as they should have been, as such as the world and the consequences of this one day rule.
The world, though interresting and intriguing, was never really described. It took me a while to understand that it was happening in the future and not just in an alternate version of our time. I know that this book isn’t a sci-fi one, but things could have been described a little bit more. For example, the author presents throughout the whole book different kind of technologies but never really explained them— they were there when the characters needed it and that was it. I really felt as if something was missing while reading.
And the same thing happned with the consequences. I cannot imagine a world in which people know when they will die, and yet there is no violence. Well, that can be— but in that case, the author needs to explain why and how. Here, it was never described. More, the author added point of views but they didn’t add anything to the story nor to the world. This new technology necessarily have consequences on people, on the world. Some may go mad, some may become violent. I wish the whole thing was more developed and thought.
WHY IT SOMEHOW MADE SENSE AND WHY IT FELT WEIRD
As I said, it still made sense— the one day rule made the whole thing rushed. Feelings had to go quick, events too. Nobody could lost time, because they simply had no time left. And it is this rule that somehow ruined the book for me.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO AVOID THIS
To avoid all of these things listed above, one solution came to my mind: change the one day rule to a one week rule. A week isn’t too long (I first thought of a month) and would allow the characters to truly get to know each other. Mateo and Rufus will be able to fall in love, quickly but not too much, and share many things. The book will, of course, be longer, which will allow the author to describe more scenes, more about the world, build something around it, and more importantly— describe the emotions, and not just the ones the characters felt when the learned they were going to die.
In the end, this book would have been better if it was:
a) a novella (in which all of what I talked about would be useless),
b) 200 pages longer.
No matter what, it truly was a good book and even though I didn’t cry like I did at the end of History is All You Left Me, it still made me feel something and made me have a good time. The whole story was beautiful, makes you think a lot (about what you would do if this would happen to you, what is life to you, what is death etc) and will make you fell in love with the two main characters. It’s a quick read and won’t take you too much time, but it can break your heart.
WHERE TO BUY IT