by Sarah Burton

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera follows two teenage boys, Rufus and Mateo, on the day they know they’ll die. And it’s brilliant.

I didn’t want to read this book. I like happy endings, and the title suggests tears. It delivers, but it’s worth the pain. They Both Die at the End captures that “keenness of feeling” that burns through our teenage years. Teens hover on the moment’s edge, when, without their permission, and not of their volition, what comes next is life and death. I’ll tell you what I mean.

The start of Part 2 of the book shares the John A. Shedd quote, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Childhood, whether it is truly safe or not, is safe in that it isn’t the child’s responsibility. They are still being built. The big decisions, the big mistakes, the big responsibilities, are not theirs. Children can screw up, but they have to screw up pretty badly before there is fallout that both affects the direction of their adult lives and is considered their fault.

As the teen years advance, rebellions and responsibilities increase, but it’s dress rehearsal. This time is an opportunity to try on the clothes and lines and roles of adulthood. Then there’s that moment in the dark hours when the clock ticks over and takes a person from child to adult. Some face that moment with exhilaration. Others face it with dread. Either way, they are launched. The world is not safe for them. And they are responsible, from that second on, for surviving it.

You can read the rest of this story by purchasing our print issue or our online flipbook (coming soon)!

Author Bio

Sarah Main Burton is Page Turner Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and an Art Judge. Sarah is a writer, editor, and devotee of genre fiction.