They Both Die at the End is an incredibly moving story that I should have read sooner. It made me cry while riding the subway, and it made me think about life—my life—in a different light upon reaching the last word. I am so glad my boyfriend gave me a copy of this for Christmas and that it was my last read of 2017.
To be honest, the first few chapters were hard for me to get through. I couldn’t connect with either Mateo or Rufus, and I found the premise of knowing when you’re going to die too thin to believe. But when the boys meet for the first time, that’s when the story truly kicks off—and I was startlingly hooked. The speculative conceit still fell a little short for me, but the other elements in the book are so well done that, in the end, it didn’t bother me as much.
What struck me the most about the book is the way Silvera writes Mateo and Rufus. They are complete opposites, yet they compliment each other so wonderfully thanks to their clear and distinct voices. While I didn’t end up loving Rufus’s perspective as much as Mateo’s, each POV plays off the other in perfect harmony and adds such incredible depth to the narrative.
Heartbreaking and honest, They Both Die at the End is a lovely example of Silvera’s ability to craft an immensely raw story that elicits a range of emotions. The strength of the novel lies in Silvera’s skill at crafting such well-rounded characters that are vividly alive. You’ll smile and laugh and cry, and wish for a different outcome. But in the end, you’ll close this book feeling grateful you met Mateo and Rufus, and you’ll think about them from time to time as if they are old friends.