By Audrey Roche
As a young adult myself, it makes sense that I have always been a fan of Young Adult books. Although I’ve always stuck closer to the Fantasy genre, I have been growing tired of it. As I was explaining this, one of my good friends told me I HAD to read They Both Die at the End. So naturally, I bought it.
How I would attempt to explain this book would be a romance with a sci-Fi twist. In this world there is a company called Deathcast, which every night at 12 AM accurately predicts the people who are going to die that day. The main characters both get a call telling them they are going to die. Mateo, a boy who has been so afraid of death his entire life that he has never actually lived, and Rufus, an orphan who had created bonds with a tight knit group of friends, are strangers at the beginning of the night. By the end of the book, they know eachother better than anyone else and have fallen for each other. It’s equally as heart warming as it is heart wrenching, considering the looming death sentence over both of their heads.
I really enjoyed the overall concept of this book. It brings up questions like, “What would you do if you knew you were going to die today?” and “How much control do we really have over our own lives?” It made me wonder about fate and coincidences. The amount of times it made me smile made up for all of the tears!
Although, there are some things about this alternate reality that the book never fully explains. I’m frustrated with the minimal explanation of the Deathcast company. Basically, all that is explained in the book is that this company showed up one day, and when all the calls were accurate, everyone just accepted it. Nobody we meet in the book has any clue how Deathcast works and how these people can guess with such accuracy. There are some theories mentioned, but for the most part everyone shrugs their shoulders and accepts it as a part of their world. To me, this seemed a way to avoid actually figuring out the logistics, which seems a little lazy at first glance. As I started to think about it, though, I realized that it was never fully explained because the story isn’t about the company – it’s about Mateo and Rufus! The company is just needed in order to make the story possible, and drawing attention to it takes attention away from the real stars of the book. So, in order to really appreciate it I had to let go of the part of me who wanted to know every detail.
Another part of the book that really excited me was the gay main characters. From what I’ve seen, it’s very uncommon to have LGBTQ+ main characters in fantasy/sci-fi novels. LGBTQ+ characters and romances normally stick around in the realistic-fiction section, and for people in the community who don’t enjoy that genre as much it is hard to find books they like with characters that represent them. To see a book that does it so beautifully and effortlessly is super exciting. I believe They Both Die at the End is a step in the right direction when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in those genres, and I cannot wait for other authors to hopefully follow in Adam Sliveria’s footsteps!
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I hope if you decide to read it you will too!