If you could find out the day that you are destined to die, would you? The fictional novel They Both Die at the End by young adult author Adam Silvera explores this question.
The 2017 book introduces Death-Cast, a government-sponsored company that is able to predict people’s death. The catch? They can not predict the exact time or reason for their subscribers’ deaths. The company hires callers to notify people (called “Deckers”) between the hours of midnight and two in the morning. The Deckers are told that they will die at some point during that day.
They Both Die at the End follows Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, two young boys who receive Death-Cast calls and, through an app, meet up to spend their last day together. Throughout their adventure, they fall in love and make the most of their final escapade around New York City.
The First to Die at the End, which came out in October of this year, serves as a prequel to the original story. It takes place in 2010 and begins with the first day of Death-Cast’s existence. Orion, a young writer, has been waiting for a heart donor for years. In Times Square, he meets Valentino, an aspiring model who just moved to the city. The pair experience life and love during Death-Cast’s tragic first day.
Following in the footsteps of the original book, The First to Die at the End has become a New York Times bestseller, climbing the Young Adult Hardcover chart. This past week, it took over the first place spot. They Both Die at the End spent over two years on the bestseller list, winning numerous awards during this time. Despite being released five years ago, the series has been steadily growing in popularity thanks to social media platforms like TikTok.
Silvera has a talent for taking his readers through many twists and turns throughout his stories, a skill prevalent in both of the novels. Whether he uses a sentence or a word, the delivery of his lines can be heart-wrenching or hilarious. His two books are easy to read yet complex; all the characters’ stories are carefully interwoven with one another. In fact, at the end of the first novel there is a character map connecting each side character to one another and to Mateo and Rufus.
These two also make appearances in the prequel, even interacting with Valentino and Orion. The stories prove that even the smallest interaction can have an important impact. Silvera’s ability to create emotional storylines following the course of only one day (even down to the minute at times) is remarkable, and really immerses the reader in the events taking place.
For readers who want a funny, suspenseful, and devastating story, They Both Die at the End and The First to Die at the End will serve them well. Silvera has even hinted at another addition to the series in the next few years, which has been highly anticipated after the ending of his most recent installment.