CBR Bingo: Cityscape
First things first, with a title like that it’s obvious that They Both Die at the End is going to be a tearjerker, and I don’t normally enjoy tearjerkers. It’s a testament to Adam Silvera’s writing that I not only finished this book but that I liked it.
Mateo and Rufus are teens living in New York who, just after midnight on the same day, get a call from Death-Cast: the service that accurately predicts the day you’ll die and lets you know so you can live that day to its absolute fullest. They meet through an app called Last Friend, where Deckers (people who going to die that day) can connect with someone to spend their last day with. Mateo and Rufus are matched up, and spend their last day alive adventuring around the city.
Mateo and Rufus are both very appealing characters, and their relationship made me happy. Silvera’s imaginative take on an NYC that’s just a shade different than our own–the same, other than the added infrastructure that was created to help Deckers enjoy their last day–made for an interesting read, as well. This book is really sad, but the kind of sad that also makes you feel kind of good, too–like the way you feel when a friend who lives far away has come to visit and is now leaving. Sad, but also happy about the fun you had while you were together.
The premise–how would knowing you were about to die change the way you live?–is a great one to explore, but one thing that’s not really addressed that bothered me is how Death-Cast may actually be causing deaths. Would someone who dies by suicide still have died that day, if they hadn’t been told they were going to? Would someone who chose to drive to their favorite place because they knew it was their last chance to go there, still have died in a car accident if they hadn’t chosen to go there? These questions bothered me throughout the book, and although Mateo and Rufus discuss this very briefly near the end, I didn’t feel satisfied with the resolution to this that they settled on.
Other than that, though, I enjoyed this book. I liked the very sweet romance and I liked the feeling I was left with when I finished it.