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.
“I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line but I never ran the race.”
Beautiful cover alert!
I think I’ll have to give up on trying to catch up on reviewing all my reads. I’ll just catch up with the most recent (English) ones. So sadly that means I’ll be skipping the review of More Happy Than Not, and instead only review this one, even though I liked MHTN better.
They Both Die At the End is similar to More Happy Than Not in the sense that they’re both kind of science-fiction-y. And they’re both really tragic. In this one, every person is called by a company called Death-Cast on the day they’re doing to die. You don’t know how you die or why, just that sometime within 24 hours you will be dead. How do the Death-Cast people know who’s dying? We don’t really know, but it’s not the point either.
The point is, Mateo Torrez gets a call from Death-Cast. He’s a normal teenager living a normal life, but now he’s going to die sometime in the next 24 hours. He’s instantly panicked and plans on just sitting in his room all day and play video games, because going outside could results in a painful death he’d rather not think about. Mateo is quiet and introverted. He currently lives alone because his dad is in a coma, and only really has one friend.
Meanwhile, Rufus Emeterio gets a call from Death-Cast in the middle of beating up another kid. He’s tough, he’s badass, and he has a good friend group where they all adore each other. He’s living his life and now he’s dying.
Through the Last Friend app, where “Deckers” (people who have received the call) can link up with other Deckers for a last friend, Rufus and Mateo get to talking and decide to meet up in the middle of the night to spend their Death Day together even though they’re total strangers.
Naturally, this book is about living life to the fullest, of daring to live, and enjoying every moment, and all of that. It’s also about letting go and doing what you want. It’s a bit cliché, but I enjoyed it for the most part. The characters felt real to me, and I didn’t mind the connection that formed between Rufus and Mateo, even though it had only been 24 or so hours. They’re dying, I can give them some slack.
In between Rufus and Mateo’s alternating chapters, we get a few chapters from other people who may or may not have received a Death-Cast call. This opens up the world a little, and expands the consequences of the calls. It also makes it possible to do some detective work and sort of figure out what happens at the end, so that when the ending comes you’re screaming NO DON’T GO THERE.
As you can tell, this book is quiet heavy and tragic. Yet, it’s not as tragic and sad as I found More Happy Than Not to be. Maybe because here, you know what’s going to happen. You’re waiting for it, the whole book revolves around it. The angst in MHTN hits you like a freight train. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on how much you love angst (I love it a lot).
I need to get to History Is All You Left Me now.
“But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same … No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”
Have you read this book? What did you think?