All Booked: They Both Die at the End

Lauren Toneatto ’21, Life & Style Columnist

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What would you do if you received a call at midnight saying you were going to die sometime later that day? You’re young, able-bodied and didn’t plan on getting into a car crash anytime soon; yet, once the call happens, there’s no changing your inevitable fate.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is a profound novel. For Rufus and Mateo, before today they had nothing in common, frankly, they didn’t even know each other. However, they now share the same bad news: They’re going to die today. Thanks to an app, Mateo and Rufus have become “Last Friends” looking to live a lifetime in 24 hours.

Admittedly, the novel started out a little slow. Perhaps with a plot as engaging as the one described on the back cover, it might have been overly- hopeful that action would be immediately packed into page one. As well, Rufus, one of the two main characters, isn’t the most charming when you first meet him. First seen beating up his ex-girlfriend’s lover, it’s hard to believe him when he claims this is “out of character” for himself. He’s also an orphan who’s still trying to cope with the death of his family, a plot point that later emerges to be rather significant, and certainly pulls at the reader’s heart strings.

Mateo, on the other hand, keeps the reader engaged. Even with a slow start, one wants to keep reading simply for Mateo’s sake. If there’s one word to describe Mateo, it would be adorable. His endearing smile is constantly mentioned and his personality revolves around his innocence. Upon first meeting, one of the initial things Rufus and Mateo do together is bury a dead bird because Mateo can’t bear to imagine the fate of the animal if he left it in the road. This is just a test to Mateo’s character. He’s charming without trying to be and the type of person who goes the extra mile for others, not because he has to or wants to put on a show, but just because that’s who he is.

Once the plot picks up, Silvera’s work turns from a story into a masterpiece. It’s nuanced and pure, heartfelt yet devastating, conveying the finite minutes in a single day, but showing how even a minute can make a memory. It shows how two strangers can instantly become family and how secrets might as well be told before it’s too late. It features friendship, romance and untainted love. The reader knows the final outcome, yet they’re dying to learn more.

If you’ve ever loved someone, it’s hard to imagine saying goodbye. But what happens when you meet, love and lose someone all within the same day? It’s a story of beginnings and ends and it’s not one to be missed.