The North Star

Spoiler alert: they both die

Emma Hansen, Online Editor

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“I regret to inform you that sometime in the next 24 hours you’ll be meeting an untimely death. And while there isn’t anything we can do to suspend that, you still have a chance to live.”

They Both Die at the End is set in a world in the not too distant future where there is a service, called Death-Cast, that will call to tell you the day that you die so you can make sure you say your goodbyes and do everything you need to do before you pass on. The people that receive the call are called “Deckers.”

The story starts with boys, who are complete polar opposites, getting the call, Mateo and Rufus. Mateo is an introverted kid that regrets not living life to the fullest because he’s always been so paranoid about dying. Rufus has always been haunted by the death that took away his entire family and threw him into foster care.

They Both Die at the End gives it’s readers relatable characters with complex emotions that are continually changing. The book builds up each one of them and heaps on the character development. In the course of that one day, they become completely different people.

The two main characters meet through an app called “Last Friend,” a program for people to find a friend to hang out with for their final hours because no one should die alone. Little by little, Rufus brings Mateo out of his shell and gets him to start actually living his life and they become best friends.

It’s a little hard to believe that you can just suddenly become that close with someone in one day. They go from their first awkward meeting to telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets. It seems a little unrealistic, but maybe that’s what death will do to you.

Along with the main characters, They Both Die at the End gives you multiple points of view from seemingly meaningless minor characters, some of these the reader sees only once. Then, through some form of magic, the book makes them connect at the end.

The book does not shy away from the discussing of the afterlife and does so in one memorable scene in a graveyard. All of this discussion is done without claiming that one was the end-all be-all of religions. It never came off as preachy in any way, its only goal was to make the reader question the world and their own ideas of an afterlife. It gave a very introspective view of death and dealt with accepting your fate and living life to the fullest while you still can.

In the end, I wish the book was called They Both Live Very Long Happy Lives Together and Eventually Die Peacefully at Age 90. They Both Die at the End spends the whole book making you fall in love with these beautifully written characters and then cruelly rips them away. I genuinely wanted to stop reading just because I didn’t want to watch the characters die. So if you’re looking for a book that will truly make you feel, then here it is.

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The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School
Spoiler alert: they both die