What would you do if you received a phone call letting you know that you were going to die within the next 24 hours? This is a reality in Adam Silvera’s new book, They Both Die at the End, which takes place in a present-day alternate version of New York City. Death Cast calls anyone who will die in the next 24 hours so that they can say good-bye to family and friends, tie up loose ends, and make the most of their End Day.
Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio receive their calls from Death Cast on September 5, 2017. Each of them has had very different life experiences and have endured personal tragedies; Mateo’s mother died giving birth to him and his father is in a coma, while Rufus lost his entire family in an auto accident and lives in a foster home with a group of teenagers who call themselves The Plutos. Rufus and Mateo have never met, but fate brings them together when they both decide to use the Last Friend app, an app that helps “Deckers” (someone who has gotten their call from Death Cast) find someone with whom to share their End Day. Rufus is on the run from the police after a violent incident leads to the arrest of his fellow Plutos; Mateo wants to fit a lifetime of experience in one day because he’s been too cautious to take risks in the past.
Rufus and Mateo are complete opposites and their friendship gets off to a rocky start, but as their Last Day unfolds, each of them open up and we learn about their past, their present, and who they will be leaving behind. The chapters alternate points of view and include snippets about minor characters that Rufus and Mateo encounter. They Both Die at the End may give away its ending in the title, but the journey we take with Rufus and Mateo is a reminder that we each only have so much time and that time shouldn’t be wasted.