cover image They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End

Adam Silvera. HarperTeen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-245779-0

Soon after Rufus Emeterio, 17, and Mateo Torrez, 18, receive midnight phone calls from Death-Cast, a service that notifies those with less than 24 hours to live, the New York City teenagers connect via the Last Friend app and decide to spend their final hours together. Both have been dealt harsh hands even before getting the call: Mateo’s mother died giving birth to him and his father’s in a coma. Rufus is the only survivor of a car crash that killed his entire family. Over the course of an eventful day, these thoughtful young men speak honestly and movingly about their fate, their anger at its unfairness, and what it means to be alive, until their budding friendship organically turns into something more. Each tells his part of the story in alternating, time-stamped chapters. Other voices—mostly friends from Rufus’s foster home and people they encounter—fill out the narrative, revealing the influence both boys have had on those around them. It hardly matters that the title telegraphs the ending; it’s still heartbreaking when it arrives. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.)