Review by Angelica Galicinao
THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END
By Adam Silvera
384 pp. HarperTeen.
Nobody really wants to talk about dying when every waking moment that you have is an act of fighting for the life you want to live.
If you knew when you would die but not the where and the how, how are you going to spend your last twenty-four hours knowing that at any moment, you might drop dead? You could be walking your dog or sleeping soundly in bed; one moment you’re alive, the next moment, all you’ll be is a lifeless structure of muscles and bones. How are you going to live a lifetime in a day? This book shows you how two individuals, with nothing in common but the fact that they’re dying on that day, prepare for their death in ways that will make your insides ache.
It is difficult for me to write a review about the book not because it’s bad but because it’s that good that I don’t know where to start. Probably the strongest point of the book is that it’s written with so much heart. It is very much evident in the choice of words that is both lyrical and straightforward. The imagery is so vivid it’s like your senses are basking in the moments the author is describing. The more that I read into it, the more that I felt like I was a part of the story. I laughed with the characters, I ached with them and for them and I felt every single emotion that they felt; the storytelling has its very unique way of getting to you and touching your heart.
One thing that I also liked about the book is the topic—death. By the end of it, I found myself focusing my thoughts on various things such as my life, on living and dying and how I’m spending my time. “Am I really living or am I just too busy trying to be alive/busy building a life I have yet to live? Am I spending my time wisely or am I spending it for a time that isn’t promised to me?” These “guide questions” (as I call them, because they point you to the right answers on how you should be living) are not asked as often as they should be and reading this book is a gentle reminder that death will come for each and every one of us. The question is, when that time comes, will you be ready for it and confidently say that you had a life well-lived?
On a very personal level, reading this book has affected the way I view life and I hope that it will do the same for you. Not only did it challenge me to live as if I am only given a day, I am also reminded to see people as if I’m seeing them for the very last time. I am so encouraged to do the latter because I know it will improve my relationships and interactions with the people around me. Listen more closely, hug people tighter, be more kind, kiss longer, laugh harder and learn to lose yourself in the moment and enjoy the now rather than miss out on it because you’re busy looking forward to a future you might not even have.
If you’re looking for an emotional roller coaster ride written in crisp paper, this is it.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is available at Fully Booked online and in-store.
Angelica is legally obligated to administer regulated drugs and touch various body parts (which is just an unconventional way of saying that she is a nurse). She considers herself an overly caffeinated bibliophile.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]