They Both Die at the End

by Adam Silvera

Paperback, 2018





Quill Tree Books (2018), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages


In a near-future New York City where a service alerts people on the day they will die, teenagers Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio meet using the Last Friend app and are faced with the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

416 p.; 8 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member norabelle414
Shy and cautious Mateo and rough-around-the-edges Rufus are very different teenage boys, but they have one thing in common. They each got a phone call this morning between midnight and 1am from DeathCast, a service that lets people know that they are going to die today. Fate (in this case, an app
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algorithm) brings the two of them together, and they spend their last day on earth pushing each other to do the things they never thought they could. This is their last chance.

I was really expecting to love this book, because everyone else seems to, but I did not enjoy it at all. The general concept - two boys know they are going to die today and become friends (and maybe more) - is a great idea, but the framework built to support it is a nonsensical Swiss cheese world. My problems are endless:
- On a character level, Mateo doesn't want to tell his best friend Lidia that he is going to die because her fiance died last year and she didn't get to say goodbye to him. So Mateo won't let her say goodbye to him either?
- More generally, If everyone who gets called is going to die before midnight, how do timezones work? If you get the call on the west coast of the US and then fly west across the international date line, do you drop dead immediately?
- Police officers spend a significant amount of time trying to prevent Deckers from killing themselves by doing crazy stunts ... why?? If they're going to die anyway why not let them die on their own terms?
- A minor character decides to commit suicide, despite knowing that she did not get a call this morning (what??) but then changes her mind when she sees the main characters laughing and having fun.
- It's mentioned that the government briefly considered lowering the drinking age to 18yo for Deckers, but decided against it because they might get alcohol poisoning or get in a car accident. What???
- All of the Deckers, from main characters to unnamed, spend tons of time trying not to die. To the point where they refuse to get on an elevator because they might die (don't get me started on how you're actually much more likely to die taking the stairs).
- And the biggest problem - the whole concept of the book is that knowing you are going to die would change your behavior. That seems like a good idea when it's just the main characters, but how could that possibly work when every single person knows they're going to die and thus changes their behavior? For example, if a person was going to die in a car crash on their way to work (a very common death), and they found out they were going to die, they probably would not go to work that day, which means they would not be on the highway at morning rush hour and would not get in a car accident.

None of this makes any sense. It was very hard for me to focus on Rufus and Mateo's relationship and character growth when everything around them is so stupid. What kept me going through most of the book was the hope that the boys would rise up and expose their half-baked dystopia, but no such luck.

I did like that the book was told from dozens of points of view, some of them very minor characters. However, there were 3 completely unrelated minor characters named Delilah, Deirdre, and Dahlia and I had to go back and re-read almost half the book to figure out if they were the same person or not.

Everyone else seems to love this book, and I'm just very confused.
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LibraryThing member ainjel
I kind of don't know what to say. Or rather, I know what I want to say, but I don't know how to articulate it.

I'll start here: this is not my favourite Silvera book. While emotional, it doesn't pack the same punch that his others do. In fact, despite the entire premise of the book being, well, that
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they die, I found this book to be overall uplifting and joyous. I think it did exactly what it wanted to: it made me realize that maybe I'm not living, and maybe I shouldn't wait until I'm dying before I start.

The characters in this book are great, and like all of Silvera's works, very diverse. They're voices we don't usually hear from in books that aren't just about diversity. They're people just being people, and living wild lives. I love that. I found Rufus's voice to be especially strong, although I probably relate the most to Mateo, or maybe even Delilah (what a great side character btw; following her story is a nice companion to Mateo and Rufus's story).

My absolute favourite thing about this book is the idea of fate and how stories intertwine and connect without us ever realizing it. I mean, do you have any idea how many lives you influence every single day? Rufus and Mateo certainly don't, and I think a lot of the sadness from this book comes from that. These kids don't know how important their lives really are.

So if you're a Silvera fan like I am, you know his last two books have great plot twists that kind of knock the breath out of you for a minute or two. So I spent this entire novel anticipating that, and (this is kind of spoiler-ville but not really, so you can check out now if you want to remain absolutely spoiler-free)... it never came. And I think this is what makes the book so strong. You read a book with a bold title like "They Both Die At the End" and you think to yourself "pssht, yeah right." But nope, what you read is what you get. And I think that's really important. We all die eventually, so we gotta make the journey worth it.

I really liked how this book made me rethink if I would want to know when I die and I have to say... I don't think I do. But I do want to live as if I'm dying; I want to be a Mateo and a Rufus. I want to live.

All in all, this isn't my favourite book, but it sure is a damn good one.
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LibraryThing member Ray_
I am not okay.

How the hell can something that I've been expecting from the very beginning be so devastating and heartbreaking?
The title says that they both will die for heaven's sake!
Yet when Mateo died I found myself sobbing.

Adam Silvera has this talent to write beautiful books that would shatter
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you beyond repair no matter how much you prepare for it. And this was no different.

I loved those characters, Mateo and Rufus were so different yet somehow worked perfectly together, their friendship was the most beautiful thing ever.

The whole Death Cast thing was such a huge paradox for me to be honest. From what I've seen in the book, a lot of the deaths were actually caused by those damned calls.
I am so curious about this whole death cast thing, how the heck do they even know who will die that die wth????
I need more information god blast it!

I really liked that the story wasn't told exclusively from Mateo and Rufus' point of views. It gave the story a lot more depth and made me more invested in it.

All in all this was yet another beautiful but heart wrenching book by Adam Silvera. I suffered but I loved every moment of it.
Though I guess I'll stay away from his books for a bit now, I need to recover from this book first.
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LibraryThing member froxgirl
Another brilliant concept lacking in execution. Sometime in the near future, people are given 24 hours notice (via text, of course) of their imminent deaths. The novel features two teenaged boys, Rufus and Mateo, who use an app "Final Friend" to meet and spend their last day together. Well, it's a
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short day for them but a l-o-o-n-g day for the reader. There's not one bit of info about how this whole process came to be, what happens if you don't have a cellphone, who's doing the the great idea becomes a lame plot device. Too bad.
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LibraryThing member KWadyko
So, it took me some time to get into this book...hence, why it took so long getting it read, but about half way through, I couldn’t read it fast enough! Knowing the ending at the beginning doesn’t take away from the story, or the mad sad feels!!! 😭😭😭😭
LibraryThing member ViragoReads
Before I get into the story, I want to say that I loved the diversity/representation portrayed in this book. There are people from different races, ethnicities, walks-of-life, social status, and sexual orientation. It all flowed very beautifully and it wasn't forced and there was no tokenism. It's
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refreshing to see and it was well written, which makes it even better.

So the whole premise of this story is that a company has created a way to predict death. Now, each day between the hours of midnight and three a.m., certain people receive a call letting them know that at some time within the next 24-hours, they will die. That's pretty messed up, right?! I kind of get the idea, if you knew you were going to die, you could say 'proper' good-byes and maybe do things you never had the courage to do. But at the same time, would you really want to know? Personally, while I would get a chance to spend time with my loved ones, I would also have to live the entire day with the knowledge that I was going go die in some mysterious, unnatural way.

The story follows (specifically) Mateo and Rufus who are 17/18-year-olds and they have both received the telephone call letting them know that they are going to die. They aren't told how or exactly when; they just know they are going to die. Both are, obviously, in a state of shock and disbelief. Rufus had just lost his entire family four months prior and was living with a serious case of survivor's guilt. Mateo is a frail, and paranoid kid whose mother died giving birth to him, and his father is currently in a coma. He's sad and angry that if--when his father wakes up, Mateo will be gone without having had a chance to say good-bye.

Their stories intersect when they each decide to use an app called "Last Friends". It was created for people who get the death call and want/need someone to spend their final day with. Together Mateo and Rufus spend their last day in various places around the city, getting to know one another, and helping each other come to terms with their impending doom. There are all sorts of services throughout the city aimed toward "deckers", some are genuinely meant to help them live out a dream or have a few great final memories; while others are just meant to milk money from dying people. In less that 24-hours they become the best 'last friends' either could have hoped for. They connect on a level that most others could never understand. Mateo helps bring Rufus back to life; he was lost after the death of his family. Rufus shows the sheltered Mateo how to live the life he's always wished he could. They are so thankful that they got to meet; although wishing they could have done so sooner. But they wonder if meeting is what causes them to die.

So that's the other question, isn't it? Does knowing you're going to die inevitably cause your death? I don't want to spoil the story, but you will be asking yourselves the same questions when you read it. They story was so real (the audio cast truly brought the characters to life). It was believable and implausible at the same time. It was bittersweet and beautiful and sad. It didn't get me until right before the very end, although a different me probably would have been sniffling through a good bit of it. And while it did make me cry (it goes on the short list of books that have), I don't think it was a sad story. It was a lovely story about living each day as though it were a lifetime and not taking your tomorrows for granted.

Read this book. You won't regret it!
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LibraryThing member cathishaw
I loved and hated this book. In an alternate present day, people receive a call just after midnight letting them know it is their "end day." Teenage boys Mateo and Rufus, two strangers, each receive the call within hours of one another. Both boys are parent-less (Mateo's mother dead, his father in
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a coma; Rufus's entire family killed in a tragic car accident). Seeking solace in a friend, they find one another on the Last Friend App.

The next 24 hours are filled with adventure, friendship, love, loss, and impending doom. As a reader you are continually reminded that no one has ever eluded Death-Cast's prediction for death. The boys will die but we don't know when or how.

As the clock ticks down, the reader can't help hoping for a happy ending, a miracle that will save them both. But the title of this book is The Both Die At The End. There are no spoilers, the ending is announced before you open the book. But it's what happens between the pages that matters most.
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LibraryThing member kimpiddington
Loved the premise. Emotional read.
LibraryThing member SapphireMoonlight23
When I first heard of this book back in 2018, I thought 'they don't ACTUALLY die at the end... right?'. I WAS WRONG. This isn't a spoiler, trust me. THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END.

Even though I don't get why this book got THIS much hype (it was really really good, but I feel that there are other books
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which are this good too), I really enjoyed it. For the most part, I read this book in two days (ignore Goodreads on that lol)!

I didn't cry, but it was sad and I could definitely relate to the characters and I felt that everything was... believable. When I found out that this was a one day love story, I was a bit sceptical ('how can you fall in love in one day???') but it genuinely was really realistic and SO CUTE!!! LGBTQ PRIDE ALL THE WAY!!!

Definitely recommended :)
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LibraryThing member mjspear
In this imagined future world, you not only know when you're going to die... you have 24 hour notice. Death-cast has called both Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio and despite their differences they unite as "Last Friends" for a day of goodbyes, adventure, and cosmic reveals. An interesting premise
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that, for this reader at least, never really takes off. Pondering one's mortality is never cheery; this book does little to leaven the anxiety.
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LibraryThing member Triza.A-c
This book was beautiful. It teaches to enjoy every moment because it just might be your last. I hope to live out every day the way Mateo and Rufus live out their last one. Definitely recommend reading this book. It's the kind of story that stays with you for life.
LibraryThing member bookappeal
What would you do if you knew this was the last day of your life? That's the question Silvera proposes in this contemporary tale with a twist - in some unexplained way, the exact day of everyone's death is known and each person receives a phone call notifying them they have less than 24 hours to
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live. Two very different teenage boys both get the call one day and, via an app set up for the purpose, meet up to spend their final day of life together. Clever plotting, compelling characters, and a sweet romance drive this easy read with some simplistic themes about living life to the fullest, not letting fear get in the way, opening yourself up to love, and, ultimately, finding your true self.
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LibraryThing member whitreidtan
How would you live your life differently if you knew the day you were going to die? Would you want to know that it's your last day or would you prefer to stay in the dark? We all have a date out there in the future that will be our last and countless people, songs, movies, and books exhort us to
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live each day as if this day is it. And we should, because we truly never know. In Adam Silvera's YA novel, They Both Die at the End, the world has the technology to warn people that it is their last day, a scary but also freeing prospect, one that allows the dying to craft the sort of final day they want.

Just after midnight, eighteen year old Mateo gets his phone call from Death-Cast informing him that he's going to die today. Mateo lives with his father, his mother having died when he was born. But his father isn't around to help the introverted and fearful Mateo face his end because his father is in the hospital in a coma. So he'll have to be brave enough on his own. Seventeen year old, foster child Rufus also gets his phone call from Death-Cast. He's in the middle of beating his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend to a pulp when the call comes in so it's a surprise that he gets the call rather than the bleeding and battered boyfriend. He intends to celebrate the imminent end of his life with his close friends, fellow fosters called the Plutos, until circumstances send him fleeing the foster home away from his friends. It is at this point that Mateo and Rufus each turn to an app called Last Friend, where Deckers (those slated to die that day) can reach out to make one last friend and have the experiences they've always wanted. And so these two doomed teenagers spend their day together learning to live.

The chapters go back and forth between Mateo and Rufus with occasional chapters from others interjected. Each of these interjected chapters starts with the information that the main focus of the chapter did not get a call from Death-Cast today because s/he is not going to die today. Mateo and Rufus' chapters are sad enough, as they worry about their deaths and how to get through their day as safely as they can until the end inevitably comes, but the other chapters serve to remind the reader, over and over again, that the boys they're so invested in have no future. It's effective as a reminder and also moves the plot along so that it's not simply two boys having adventures, becoming friends, and learning to trust and love in their last hours. It adds to the plot. The story is heartbreaking but it is leavened by the sweet, if fairly sudden and slightly unbelievable, romance and the honest and open way that the boys are living their final day. The reader will be immediately sympathetic to Mateo but will have to grow to feel that way towards Rufus. They are very different characters, both with agonizing back stories, who come to understand their own value to themselves and to each other. Silvera has done a fantastic job of making connections between his cast of characters, weaving each life through the others, showing how we are all connected, all human. It's the butterfly effect in novel form.

The mechanism behind Death-Cast isn't explained in the story, but I'm not certain that it needs to be. The only thing that matters is that the boys are going to die and they know it. They are necessarily given a very long final day but that sometimes means that the plot drags in places. The you only live once message is often repeated as the story goes on, especially as Mateo and Rufus remind themselves that the clock is ticking and a little more subtlety in that would perhaps have not been amiss. The concept is a fascinating one and although it didn't leave me as emotional as I'd have expected, Silvera has written an engaging and interesting novel. If you're like me, in the end, rather than this being a tear-jerker, it'll leave your heart feeling bruised. And when you close the book the final time, you will understand the comment made to the boys again and again, "Sorry to lose you" because you'll be sorry to lose these characters too.
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LibraryThing member thereserose5
It took me some time to become invested in the characters and the intriguing concept of the book was what kept me going. Once I got into it, even with the ending being right in the title, it was just as heartbreaking as you'd imagine.
LibraryThing member jmchshannon
I finished They Both Die at the End a week ago, and I still do not know how to adequately put my thoughts and feelings about it into words. It tore my heart in two and stomped all over it. At the same time, it made me so happy to be alive and inspired me to live. I am still overwhelmed by the
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plethora of emotions Mr. Silvera’s words created in me. Plus, I am in awe of his ability to capture the human experience so well. I have only read one of his other books, but if the rest of his works are as impressive as this one, consider me a life-long fan.

The funny thing is that Mr. Silvera does not hide how the story ends; it is in the title after all. You should be prepared for a sad ending before you start reading the first page. What he does however is make you forget the ending or at least valiantly hope that Mateo and Rufus can beat the prediction. He does this by making you care about the characters to such an extent that you forget they are fictional. He does this through cadences and word choices that are authentic to the age group. Plus, he does not just write about these characters; he becomes them. You get the feeling that he is writing about his own experiences and relationships, and it makes his characters richer and deeper than almost any other characters you will discover.

In a book like They Both Die at the End, it would be so easy to drift into a philosophical discussion of the pros and cons of the existence of Death-Cast. After all, its existence begs the question of whether these deaths would occur if the people did not have advanced warning of them. It is a different take on the chicken versus the egg conundrum and is something Mr. Silvera almost completely avoids. There is a part of you that wishes Mateo and Rufus would discuss this if only because it is something that seems to be staring you in the face. Instead, Mr. Silvera keeps his heroes on task with living their last day, and after a few chapters, you see the wisdom in that. In a novel that is about living, philosophical discussions have no place, and debating the what-if possibilities surrounding Death-Cast does nothing but waste time when time is precious. This is a lesson we can and should extract for our own lives.

They Both Die at the End will go down as one of the best books I have read all year. It is so simple a story but so profound with lessons worth learning no matter what age you are when reading it. Mateo and Rufus are every reader who has ever felt misunderstood, afraid, angry, anxious, lost, and lonely. Plus, their burgeoning friendship is a simple joy to watch unfold. They Both Die at the End is not an easy read, knowing how it ends, but in reality that is life. We all die at the end. As Mateo and Rufus discover, what matters is how we spend the time while we are alive. Reading Mr. Silvera’s latest novel is an excellent way to spend some of that time.
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LibraryThing member thebookqueensx
5/5 stars

To keep it short and simple, this book was incredible and I didn't want it to end.

The concept is interesting, because it can be considered sci-fi, but reads much more like a contemporary, which I really liked. It combined one, slightly-dystopian element (Death-Cast) and placed it in the
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present day. The writing style was engaging; there were many moments while reading this book that I had to force myself to put it down (hence why it only took me two days to read).

This book, first and foremost, was a character-driven narrative. Mateo and Rufus are genuinely two of the best characters I have read about this year. They are both flawed, but are good at heart. As they learned about each other, I as the reader learned about them as well. When an author writes with two main narrators, they sometimes sound like the same exact character in the end, but this didn't happen in They Both Die at the End. Mateo and Rufus had complex and complete character arcs, which is surprising since the book takes place over the course of one day.

This book lives up to the hype it has gotten on social media. I can't wait to reread it again sometime. :)
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LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
Well, this book left me a sobbing mess. From the start I wanted to know if Mateo and Rufus really did die at the end and if so, how. The concept of the book was clever, a bit sci-fi even though it was set in 2017, where people are contacted by Death-Cast to be informed that they only have one more
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day to live.

I loved following Mateo and Rufus' journey through their End Day and how they found, and connected, with each other through the Last Friend app, and how they made the most of their last 24 hours on earth. Mateo was such a gentle, loving, socially awkward soul while Rufus was more tough and street-smart, but with a heart of gold. They complemented each other perfectly and, despite their different backgrounds and personalities, they became friends caring for and helping each other say goodbye to the loved ones they would leave behind. I also loved how supportive their other friends were - Amy, the Plutos and Lydia.

I did have a couple of small complaints about "They Both Die at the End". There were too many narrators, many being secondary characters whom I thought were unnecessary and, while Mateo probably had most of the spotlight, I would like to have heard more from Rufus' point of view. Secondly, I didn't think the romance was necessary. It felt rushed and unbelievable. I think the two boys should have just stayed good friends.

However, the writing was beautiful, heart-breaking and real. I was totally caught up in Mateo and Rufus' End Day and it makes you realise that none of us know when our last day will be, so we should live each day as though it is the last, without regret.

A touching read.
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LibraryThing member jgallo123
Even though I “knew” how the book would end, I still cried like a baby when it did. My heart is shattered
LibraryThing member purple_pisces22
The end? Die? What the...!??! This was my first book by Adam Silvera so I did not know what to expect.
Intriguing idea though...
LibraryThing member electrascaife
Matteo and Rufus are two teens living very different lives in a NYC in which you get a Deathcast call around midnight on the day you will die. They meet each other for the first time on their death day, after matching up on a Last Friend app, and they spend the day together getting to know each
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other while they make the best of the few hours they have left.

A very cool premise, nicely done. It’s touching and sweet, affirming and gut-punching, all without being too saccharine or maudlin. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member rosienotrose
Prepare to have your heart shattered and your emotions tested. This poignant and thought-provoking novel takes you on an unforgettable journey that will challenge readers to reflect on their own lives, inspiring us to live each day to the fullest and cherish the connections we have with
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“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.”

In a world where individuals receive a call informing them of their impending death within the next 24 hours, two strangers, Mateo and Rufus, find themselves connected by fate on their last day alive. As they grapple with their mortality, they embark on a profound adventure filled with love, friendship, and the urgency to make every remaining moment count.

I've not read Adam Silvera before but he has gifted us with a beautifully crafted story where , even though we know the ending, we are invested in these characters and all those around them. The world is chilling and hopeful at the same time because even as the characters are racing against death to live their fullest Last Day, it begs the question of what would we do in the same situation... and in some ways aren't we always in the same situation.

After finishing the book I can't help thinking more about the characters and the world Silvera has created. He litters the story with minor characters and their stories; the parent who gets a call for their four year old child, the suicidal girl who does not get the call, the famous celebrity who is giving one last interview, the women who believes the call is a prank because her ex-fiancé works in the call center.

I can't help feeling I would read more in this universe where we are reminded live, love, and appreciate every moment we have.
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LibraryThing member Itaby
Man, that was emotionally devastating. Use to read it on the train to and from work, but decided to read the rest at home when I got closer to the end cuz I just knew it would make me cry my eyes out. Was right. Beautiful story about living life to it's fullest on very limited time and budget.
LibraryThing member TrinityYouth
this novel is one of the saddest things i have ever read. i loved how there were little messages in it and how SPOILER; mateo always made sure that rufus looked both ways when crossing the road but at the end when mateo was longer with him rufus ended it with the line "i cross the street without an
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arm to hold me back". at this point there was already tear stains on my face from the previous pages when mateo and rufus were in a bedroom together and they confessed their love for eachother. during the 3rd part of the book the suspense was building up to when one of them will die.i felt all kinds of emotions while reading this book and i do recommend it but i will say that i am a very sensitive person that gets very hurt and scard by things like this. i do regret reading it because of that reason but at the same time im glad i read i mentioned previuosly,i am not a big reader and i dont read that often but this book had me hooked instantly and i finished it in 2 days.... it kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen next.IM PISSED THO. MATEO AND RUFUS DESERVED END GAME
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LibraryThing member Iira
I kind of liked the concept but then I also didn't. I think I need to stop reading YA, because I'm apparently too cynical or there's something else wrong with me. Or, the hype worked against the book (like always) and got my expectations too high. Whatever the reason, I didn't find the story as
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heart-breaking as everyone else, apparently.
Several narrators helped in getting rid of the overacting narration prevalent in American audiobooks, but I still found it a bit unneccessary. I am able to follow different characters even with single-person narration.
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LibraryThing member sjh4255
I must say, the title of the book peaked my curiosity.. Does it really happen? Why would I read this if I know the ending?
Well, it's not the ending that makes the book, it's the adventure in between..
The novel has a bit of a sci-fi spin on it, where there is a service that will call you up in the
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early morning after midnight to tell you are going to die today.
How would you live your life? What would you do?
Also really liked the format of the book, where each chapter is told in the eyes of a particular character, not necessarily the main characters either.
My name is Steven, I did not get called by Death-Cast, I am not dying today.. :)
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½ (712 ratings; 4)
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