On Their Last Days, They Live Big and Love Big

Adam Silvera

“Live every day as if it were your last.”

Apple founder Steve Jobs recited those words to himself every morning when he looked in the mirror. He knew that if he did this every day, one day he would be right.

In a pair of Adam Silvera novels, three teen-agers get the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing them they are Deckers and are about to die. Death-Cast is a service that offers subscribers the opportunity to learn on the given day that they are going to die within 24 hours.

In They Both Die in the End and its prequel, The First to Die in the End, Silvera knits passionate stories about how these young people spend their last days. They learn that what is important is how they live, not how they die.

I expect most of us have been asked if we would want to know when we are going to die. We all know there is no life without death, but how would it affect our lives if we knew our expiration date? The creator of Death-Cast finds there are unintended consequences of the service he hoped would enrich Deckers’ last hours.

There is also no love without loss. This is a central theme to both books and love binds the characters during intense times filled with tension, joy, discovery, and tragedy.

I am hesitant to say more, fearing I could spoil the enthralling experience ahead of readers of these books. You could say the titles of the books are spoilers in themselves, but I would say these stories survive the titles, even thrive because of them.

Adam Silvera published the prequel in October while I was reading They Both Die in the End, published in 2017. When I finished the “sequel,” I went right to the other book. I was glad I read them in that order.

These books are categorized as young-adult novels, but as with so many in this genre, I think they will appeal to older adults as well. These are the two of the most compelling books I have read in 2022. I look forward to reading more of Silvera’s books.