Grab your tissues, “The First to Die at the End” will leave you with questions and tears

The prequel to “They Both Die at the End” by author Adam Silvera qualifies the tension from first text with new conflicts and tear-jerking moments


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Silvera’s second book is actually a prequel to “They Both Die at the End”

Maggie Blackburn, Arts & Culture Editor

“They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera has had us all crying for five years, since the original release. After much time healing from the tragic deaths of Rufus and Mateo, the two boys who weren’t given enough time to love each other properly, Silvera is back to break our hearts once again. 

In the same universe that Rufus and Mateo lived, but seven years prior, Death-Cast is launching its program across the nation. Valentino just moved to New York to get away from the state of Arizona, and his homophobic parents. Orion has always lived in New York. At the Death-Cast launch party, the boys bump into each other, when the very first Decker (the person who is destined to die that day) gets the call. At midnight, the founder of Death-Cast calls one of the boys, meaning one of them will be (quite literally) the first to die at the end. 

After finishing the book, I can confirm that Silvera continues to live up to the reputation to break the hearts of all who read his books. “The First to Die at the End” had me crying within the first 50 pages, and that didn’t stop for the next 500. Silvera touches all emotions and finds a way to get you attached to these characters, just like he did with “They Both Die at the End.”

As the book only follows the span of a day, one of the boys’ last days more specifically, the reader is able to feel like we are braving the day with the two boys while feeling the grief and anguish they feel as well. The characters, Valentino and Orion, are witty, relatable and loveable, which makes the book that much more of a tragedy. In a lot of books I have read, I didn’t feel much with the character, but when Silvera creates his character, the depth and the thought behind not only the characters but their mannerisms, every word they say, even their backstories, is evident. 

The book also gives us answers to almost all of the questions we’ve had for the past five years. Who created Death-Cast and why? Why are they called Deckers? Who created the Last Friend app? Do they know any other information about the deaths? If those questions have been bothering you since the first time you picked up “They Both Die at the End” like it has for junior Sydney Hay, “The First to Die at the End” is a crucial read to get some answers. 

“I have been waiting for this book, and to finally get some answers from the first Deckers,” Hay said.

 Silvera, however, has left the question still unanswered: how do they know who is going to die?

While I absolutely loved this book, and gave it a five star rating on Goodreads, some people disagreed. On Goodreads, the current rating for the book is 3.93 stars after over 9,000 reviews. It truly depends on what you enjoy reading, but I think if you are looking for an emotional read with LGBTQ+ representation to dive into, you should at least give this book a try.