Last year I read over a dozen books and the most standout piece of work was “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera. This year, Silvera released the prequel titled “The First To Die At The End” and on its release date, I immediately drove to the store to pick up a copy.
Something I found interesting right off the bat from reading the previous novel is that the narration changes throughout the books. At the start of each narration change, the person narrating says their name and the time they start their section. I enjoyed this a lot because you can see different scenarios from the perspective of multiple people, which was unique.
The first novel shared the story of two teenage boys named Rufus and Mateo, while the most recent release shares the world of Orion and Valentino. Within their world, there is something called “Death-Cast.” Death-Cast is a subscription anyone of any age can sign up for. On the day of your death, you will get a call from a Decker, a Death-Cast employee, notifying you that today is the day you will meet your end.
The whole idea of Death-Cast is to make sure everyone lives their final day to the fullest. Living your life to the fullest is the overall theme of the novel, a mindset I believe everyone should have.
Both “The First to Die at the End” and “They Both Die at the End” take place in New York City, which adds to the fast-paced theme of each story. Each release took me only two days to read, which in my opinion is the perfect way to enjoy a good book. Being able to transport yourself into another world and being so attached to the work you’re reading is the best feeling in the world. Silvera did a flawless job at bringing this feeling to life for me.
Something so special about this series is that they both focus on two gay teenagers. As a queer individual, this representation warms my heart. Growing up I didn’t see that much LGBTQIA+ representation in the media, but Silvera is fueling that change for the world. In each book, the teens go through life-changing events with each other that draw their bond closer.
The Death-Cast launch night is when the duo Orion and Valentino entered each other’s lives by chance. Gathering with everyone in New York City anxiously awaiting the launch, they immediately connected.
A connection like theirs is something that people strive to find their whole life. Imagine finally getting a connection like that and then finding out you are set to die in the next 24 hours. “The First to Die at the End” shares their journey throughout their last, but also first, moments together.
Orion isn’t a stranger to death: he suffers from a fatal heart condition, so signing up for Death-Cast never phased him. Valentino, on the other hand, just moved to New York in hopes of pursuing his dream of becoming a professional model.
I see parts of myself in both of these characters. Having a life-changing illness is something that hits close to home for me. Not knowing what your illness will bring for you in the coming days is something Silvera shows in his writing to a “t.”
How I related to Valentino, on the other hand: well, I think most of us can relate to him. He’s a dreamer. He will do anything to reach his career goals, even if that includes flying states away to pursue these dreams.
“The First to Die at the End” shares how truly important it is to have special people in your life. Living life to the fullest with those you love is something that we all should be doing.
Silvera did an incredible job at narrating this story. The language he uses is smart but does not stray away from the fact that he is writing the plot for two teenagers.
In an interview with TIME Magazine, Silvera shared that there will be a third novel in this series.
“There’s a third Death-Cast novel, and the narrators are the two young boys we are introduced to in ‘The First to Die at the End,’ Paz Dario and Alano Rosa,” Silvera said.
I found so much relatability in this novel, but the next one is something more people should relate to because it details something we all had to go through, and what it would be like if we didn’t live through it.
All in all, this book is an easy five stars for me. It’ll break your heart, but following the lives of the two hopeless teenagers is so enticing. I’ve read two of Silvera’s releases, and based on what I’ve read so far, I would most certainly recommend his works to everyone.