“Entire lives aren’t lessons, but there are lessons in lives.”
This book has been on my tbr even before it was released. The hype surrounding it before it was released slightly scared me, but it definitely also captivated me to pick it up. I previously tried reading More Happy Than Not by the same author, and unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it at all. However, my opinion of Adam Silvera changed once I picked this book up, and I am interested to try his future books.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book. But I, as I do with all books, had several problems with it. I’ve never enjoyed Silvera’s writing. I think this was a bigger problem in More Happy Than Not, but it still posed as a problem in this book. His writing, if I can sort of describe it, is like really casual but also kind of mimics the way we people talk today. And personally, I don’t think it mixes well with his heartbreaking and emotional storylines. At some parts, where things were supposed to be emotional, his writing kind of kills it. In the beginning, when the Death-Cast calls Mateo and Rufus, us readers are supposed to be sad and heartbroken that they will die. Unfortunately, I didn’t really see that emotion conveyed through his writing. I didn’t feel anything while reading these parts. This is what probably bugged me the most.
Another odd thing I found with this book and Silvera’s other books is that he mixes dystopian aspects into his books (I’m not sure if he did this will History is All You Left Me since I didn’t read it yet) but I find this to be kind of interesting but mostly awkward. I think his books are categorized as contemporary, but the weird dystopian parts kind of threw me off. The Death-Cast thing could’ve had more building so we could understand what was happening. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think these dystopian qualities are interesting. I just think that there could’ve been more explanation to why this Death-Cast thing is in this society so it could clarify some misunderstood parts of it.
The final problem (yes I know I always have a lot of problems with books) is with the perspectives. This book is mainly told from two perspectives: Mateo and Rufus, who are the main characters. However, there are some other small and minor characters who get some story to tell too, and it really confused me. I already dislike multiple perspectives, but having these small and minor characters add the story confused me and made me dislike it even more. They didn’t even play any role in the story, and I wish that it strictly stuck to only Mateo and Rufus.
Moving forward, I did like many parts of this book. The two main characters WERE SO FREAKING PRECIOUS I CAN’T. Mateo was adorable, and I was really sad at the end (if you read the book you will definitely understand). Rufus was comical and funny and also cute, and I found that his easy going personality really blended and mixed well with Mateo’s personality. The relationship they share together was amazing to read about, and I loved how they grew from friends to something else. I think that they were my favorite part of this book.
I also enjoyed the Death-Cast part (even though there were some issues). It made the story more heartbreaking and emotional for me, and even though I never cry with books I still think I felt super sad at the end when the stuff happened. It really brought out a different side to both Mateo and Rufus, and we see how their call starts to change these characters. It also brought them together, and of course, I like that.
Would I recommend this? YES and definitely. If you enjoy character-driven but also a depressing book, I would definitely suggest that you pick this up. Even though it doesn’t land a spot on my all-time favorite books, this reading experience I had was still memorable.