They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

“On behalf of Death-Cast, we are sorry to lose you. Live this day to the fullest.”


Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

This book has a really intriguing and sellable title, however that’s not the reason I picked it up. I was sold by its alluring blurb and original storyline. I’ll be reviewing both the physical book and audiobook. 

They Both Die at the End opens on September 5th, 2017 at 12:22am, when Matteo Torrez receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast with the warning of a lifetime telling him that today is his last day on earth — he is going to die today.

‘I just breathe because I have fewer than twenty-eight thousand breaths left in me — the average number of breaths a nondying person takes per day — and I might as well use them up while I can,’ he thinks. 

While Death-Cast can call on the day of your death, they cannot provide an exact minute or tell you how it’ll happen. “Log on to and fill out any special requests you may have for your funeral in addition to the inscription you’d like engraved on your headstone. Or perhaps you’d like to be cremated, in which case…” the Death-Cast representative tells Matteo on the phone. 

He thinks that the person he’ll miss the most is the future him, the one who maybe would have loosened up and lived. But he will never get to grow up to be the Future Mateo. 

At 1:05am, the reader is introduced to Rufus Emeterio,  who is in the middle of beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend at the time of the call. He initially ignores it, but they get through to him eventually. “Rufus, I regret to inform you that sometime in the next twenty-three hours you’ll be meeting an untimely death,” Death-Cast warns him. The representative continues, “On behalf of Death-Cast, we are sorry to lose you. Live this day to the fullest.”

Courtesy of Cam Adams, Unsplash

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. The Last Friend app is designed for those seeking company for their last day on earth, their description mission statement: 

We here at Last Friend Inc. are collectively sorry for this loss of you. Our deepest sympathies extend to those who love you and those who will never meet you. We hope you find a new friend of value to spend your final hours with today. Please fill out the profile for best results. 

Individuals are asked to fill in information such as name, age gender, who you were in life, and final thoughts. Matteo and Rufus meet through the app, and hope to have one last great adventure — to live a lifetime in a single day.

Courtesy of David Zawila, Unsplash

They Both Die at the End
was deeply thought-provoking, with themes of life, meaning, social connections, and the choices we make.
There was the obvious message of living life to the fullest, but I think there was also a lot of reading between the lines with this novel, with themes of grief and denial, especially from the cameo characters who would appear throughout.

Matteo says at one point, “Too bad life doesn’t allow us to turn its gears, like a clock.” 

A reality that I think a lot of us humans face. I think if faced with this choice, I would turn the clock back to spend time with loved ones who have since passed. Would I redo the things that I’ve done wrong? I don’t think so. There’s a beauty in mistakes. And would I inch the time forward, I doubt it. 

I found the plot to be completely original, engaging, and memorable. I started thinking what would happen if I, myself, received a call from Death-Cast. I just know I’d want to spend the day surrounded by my loved ones, doing the things I love the most, and trying to be as present as possible. It’s hard to say though. 

When asked by Bookpage what his inspiration for this novel was, author Adam Silvera said:

“They Both Die at the End was inspired by this panicking anxiety of not knowing when we’re going to die, and wondering how differently our final day would look if we know when that day was.”

Regarding the audiobook, it had a nice flow to it. The voices of Rufus and Matteo seemed to fit well with the characters I imagined them to be. I didn’t really understand the voice of Aimee, though. It just didn’t seem to fit at all. Other than that, the pacing and narration was perfect. I listen to my audiobooks at a pretty high speed, and even with that, it was still very awesome. 

Courtesy of Harper Collins

Adam Silvera
is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Infinity Reaper, Infinity Son, They Both Die at the End, More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me, and What If It's Us with Becky Albertalli. All his novels have received multiple starred reviews. He worked in the publishing industry as a children's bookseller, community manager at a content development company, and book reviewer of children's and young adult novels. He was born and raised in New York. He lives in Los Angeles and is tall for no reason. 

They Both Die at the End is available at Indigo and on Kobo. Check Harper Collins Canada for additional retailers. 

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