I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by HarperTeen on September 5th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They're going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they're both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There's an app for that. It's called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.
While I don’t usually read contemporaries, the idea behind this book really intrigued me. It had me wondering what it would be like to live in a world where everyone found out they were going to die the day of their death? Plus, I’ve heard so many good things about Adam Silvera and had yet to read one of his books. So I decided to request this one from Edelweiss – and to my surprise I was approved!
The idea of Death Cast, a company that somehow mysteriously knows when everyone is going to die, was so intriguing to me. I think Adam Silvera did a great job of thinking this idea through, because the existence of Death Cast really permeated the world and affected everyone. Lots of businesses have popped up because of Death Cast, such as the Last Friend app (where people who are dying can find a new friend to spend their last day with) and Make-A-Moment (where people who are dying can virtually, and safely, experience anything they want). Funerals now happen while the person is alive so that they can say goodbye to their friends and loved ones. Even the idea of money when you know you are dying was explored, which I loved the practicality of! We never find out how Death Cast knows when people are going to die, and I loved the exploration of if your Last Day is determined by fate and the whole chicken vs egg idea – do you die because Death Cast called you, or were you going to die anyway?
These characters were adorable and I enjoyed getting to know them. Both Mateo and Rufus had such unique backstories that I don’t feel you see often in YA books. Mateo has been raised by his father, who is currently in a coma, and his best friend is a girl who had to dropped out of high school because she had a baby. Rufus is an orphan who lives with a foster family and has gotten really close with the other teens who are a part of his foster family. I just feel like both of these character situations are ones that are explored often (granted, I don’t read much contemporary) and I loved how real-world their situations felt. This books has great LGBT+ representation as well, with Rufus being bisexual and Mateo is implied to by gay. My only complaint with the characters is that I had a really hard time connecting with Rufus. He is a bit of a bad boy with a rough background, and that shows through in the way he talks and thinks. While many people may find the way he talks to be realistic and would connect to it, I had a harder time with it. He came across to me as trying a little too hard to be “cool” and “thug”, but that may just be my lack of experience with people like him in real life.View Spoiler » I was a little confused by Rufus’s timeline though – it seems like he just moved in with his foster family about 6 months ago, and I felt that wasn’t really long enough for him to get as close to his friends as he did. « Hide Spoiler
Plot and Writing
This book takes place over about 24 hours, and is all about living life to the fullest on your End Day. This book really elicited a lot emotion from me! I mean, the idea of two 18 year olds unexpected dying is sad enough, but also seeing them say goodbye to their loved ones trying to make the most of their End Day got my tears going. Because of the short time span, it’s fairly fast moving (and also helps that the chapters are really short!) – I read this book so fast! The set up of this book reminded me a lot of Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star (which also takes place over a day and I LOVED), because of the time span but also because of the point of views in the book. Most of the book is from Matteo’s and Rufus’s POVs, but we also get snippets from people they run into over the course of the day. I really liked these quick sneak peaks into the minds of random characters in this world as they run across the two main characters. I do have a couple complaints, which are kind of spoilery so I’m going to hide them in spoiler tags –> View Spoiler »I had a harder time getting on board with the romance in this book than I did with TSIAS. It was a bit instalovey, which is kind of to be expected because of the time span, but at the same time I’ve experienced this in another book (TSIAS) where I found it more believable than I did in this book. The other complaint I have is the ending!! The ending is a bit of an open one and I didn’t like that. I really wanted more closure at the end of the story and was a bit annoyed with how it left me hanging. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I liked this twist on a contemporary story and the way the existence of Death Cast really permeated throughout the world. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of these characters, even though I had a bit of a hard time connecting with Rufus, and I found the story of their End Day heartbreaking and emotional. I loved the way the story is set up with alternating POVS with snippets of random people integrated into the story, which was reminiscent of Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. I had a few (minimal) complaints, but overall this was a solid 4-star book for me. If you find the idea of Death Cast interesting, I definitely recommend giving this book a read! Just be prepared to shed a few tears.