cover image The First to Die at the End

The First to Die at the End

Adam Silvera. Quill Tree, $19.99 (560p) ISBN 978-0-0632-4080-3

On the eve of the historic launch of a death-predicting corporation, two queer teens make the most of the time they have left together in Silvera’s heart-wrenching standalone prequel to They Both Die at the End. Because of his heart condition, 18-year-old Puerto Rican writer Orion Pagan has spent most of his life waiting to die, terrified of not knowing when it’ll happen. With the appearance of Death-Cast, a corporation that claims it can predict people’s death dates, he takes comfort in the fact that “at least I’ll know when it’s game over.” Meanwhile, white-presenting 19-year-old model Valentino Prince believes his life is only getting started. Having just arrived in N.Y.C. after moving out of his strict religious parents’ house in Arizona, Valentino, eager to discover the city, ventures into Times Square, where Death-Cast prepares to celebrate its launch. The boys meet and strike up an immediate flirtation amid the celebrations, but when midnight strikes, and Death-Cast informs one of them that he will die the next day, they resolve to spend a lifetime in 24 hours. Fans of the first book will enjoy pointing out familiar details while absorbing Death-Cast’s riveting lore. Through the boys’ vulnerable alternating perspectives, interspersed with vignettes that explore varied supporting characters’ relationships with death, Silvera crafts a stunning and thought-provoking narrative that examines difficult existential questions without eschewing hope. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Oct.)