[ARC] They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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5stars

I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line, but I never ran the race.

Title: The Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Good things about this book: It’s a Silvera book!
Bad things about this book: Well, the end that was spoiled in the title.
Do I recommend it? Yes, and if you haven’t, I also recommend his other two books!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“ARC by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review”

The Silvera Experience is always one of a kind but my heart is still not used to it: it’s an experience of love, tears, and so many thoughts your brain may explode. I finished reading the book yesterday night and every time my mind is not busy it goes back to the book. It’s a terrifying concept the one introduced here with the calls telling you about your imminent death. It’s terrifying because once you know that it’s impossible to not think about it. Then you ask yourself: what am I going to do today before I die? Did I live my life right? Do I have regrets?

I’m shaken by how Adam Silvera can get to me with simple words. Simple words in a slightly different kind of world, not the one we live in right now but it’s so close to it that it scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t put it down once I started it and now I have my heart in my hands, tears in my eyes, and not a single idea of how to put it into words.

No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.

Mateo and Rufus receive a call, THE call, telling them this is the day they’re going to die. They don’t know when and how but they know it’s going to happen before midnight. They are very different people with very different lives but destiny is a funny lady and this dreadful news brings them together on the day their lives are going to end. The Last Friend app brings together people on their End Day that don’t have anyone to spend their day with or that don’t want the people they care about seeing them dying.

I loved how their weird friendship starts and slowly they share their feelings, their pasts, their fears, and they get to have a last glimpse of love. It’s not instant, it’s not forced; it is how it is. Two boys that are going to die, getting close enough to have one more regret about the life they’re leaving behind too soon: a great love story that could have been, a happy life they could have shared. Just thinking about it fills me with sadness and it makes me realize how it’s never too late and even when it’s too late, it is still worth it.

“Why can’t we have a chance?” I ask Rufus.
“A chance at what?” He’s looking around, taking pictures of the arena and the lines.
“A chance at another chance.” I say.

At first I thought that knowing about your death in some ways triggered a chain reaction that would get you to the death that was predicted. It all seemed plausible and I found myself thinking that maybe without knowing they would’ve done things differently and destiny could’ve been rewritten giving them a second chance, maybe also a third. Like your path is not set in stone and it could change.

As I read on, though, I realized that no matter what things you may decide to do on your End Day, death would still find you. You can’t escape death and you’re certainly not meeting death because of the choices you’re making that day: you’re just changing the journey, taking a different road, but the destination it’s still the same. You’re given a chance to say goodbye, to have closure, to tied loose ends, to try things you weren’t brave enough to try before, and I think that’s really scary yet somehow liberating. I don’t know what I would do if knew today was my last day alive: I would freak out, that’s for sure.

I wondered if it was possible to ask them not to tell you when you were going to die, that maybe it could be an option you decided not to have. Then again, without the phone call Rufus and Mateo would still be dead but they wouldn’t have met, and they wouldn’t have been the last rays of sunshine they’ve seen in this world that had them for such a short time.

I wasted time and missed fun because I cared about the wrong things.

Adam Silvera has confirmed himself once again one of my favourite authors and I think he’s going to be one for a very long time. I can’t recommend his books enough and this is not an exception. Go get yourself a Silvera book, you won’t regret it.

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The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli

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“Is there, in the Year 2000, a name for this? What would you call this? Are you some new breed of life partners? Are you lifebuddies? Nonsexual husbands?”

Title: The Cranberry Hush
Author: Ben Monopoli
Why you should read this book: Because it’s a lovely story about love, friendship and moving on.

Summary from Goodreads:

Vince Dandro might be going through the quietest quarter-life crisis of all time. He lives alone, works in a comic book shop, and has a crush on his coworker he can’t seem to act on. Like an old comic book, his life’s colors have started to fade. Everything brightens when Vince’s long-lost friend Griff appears on his doorstep in the middle of a blizzard. They were roommates in college, so close back then that Griff’s girlfriend called them “lifebuddies” — but Vince’s love for Griff had ended the friendship, he thought, forever. They haven’t spoken in years. Why has Griff shown up again? And, more importantly, can Vince handle his return?

Vince and Griff are two twentysomethings struggling to find their places in the world and in each other’s lives. This is a story of friendship and love, both unrequited and requited, and of learning how to fly through the post-college void, which just might hold more than a cranberry hush.

Everyone else was always the third wheel when Griff was around. How could I reduce him to what he was supposed to be? Just a buddy, just a roommate, just an open-mouth chewer of pizza.
What if I couldn’t?

I don’t know what to write about this book without spoiling everything. I don’t want to spoil it because, step by step, it takes you through so many range of emotions that if I reveal something I might ruin the whole experience. It is a simple book, a book about a guy living his live, working in a comic book store, having crushes, and living a very quiet life.

It is a book about the past, the feeling of a void that needs to be filled. A book about love, so much love it breaks your heart slowly. It is above all a book about friendship, the real deal, the one that survives fights, years of being apart and everything life throws at you. I don’t have that kind of friendship and I was really jealous of Vince and Griffin.

“I think it’s weirder to only be able to fall in love with half of the people you meet.”

Vince is bisexual and this has given him quite a few headaches from others through the years. He is sweet but he is a bit of a coward: he prefers to stop doing one thing if he has even the slightest feeling something might ruin it. You can’t do that or you will live your life being scared of everything. There was a time I was like him and that’s what annoyed me the most about Vince, because I knew how ruinous that behavior can be.

Maybe we would hang out in each other’s rooms, sixty-nine for hours while our roommates were away, become life partners, adopt foreign orphans.

He fell in love with Griff at first sight in college and through some weird methods he found out more about him and asked him to be his roommate. Vince was positive Griff was going to fall in love with him even if the entire world (and Griff) told him he was 100% straight. Vince is delusional and that took a lot from him. I felt his pain, I, too, have this bad habit of daydreaming about a lot of things but then real life slaps me in the face.

“I don’t think of Superman as being angsty, though.”
“That’s the problem. Most people don’t. But really he’s pure angst. He has a Fortress of Solitude, you know? What do you think he does there, throw parties? No. He broods.”

Vince is quietly living his life when one day Griff, freshly out of a break up, shows on his doorstep and asks him to stay at his place for a week until he figures out what to do. There’s more to Griff that what he shows Vince and that puts more delusion in our poor guy’s mind. I wanted to scream “Wake up, son, or at least ask so that everybody can go home in peace!”. It’s so easy to lose ourselves in dreams: in dreams things can’t go wrong if we decide they can’t. In dreams every piece fits perfectly into our life’s puzzle.

I had a hard time figuring out Griffin at first. He is a nice guy having no clue about what he wants to do with his life. We’ve all been there (oh hell, I’m still there myself!) but seeking refuge in memories of a perfect past can do so much damage. I love that Griff thought of Vince when he didn’t know where else to go. I think that is what was supposed to happen and I’m happy he did what he did throughout the week he stayed in Vince’s house. This experience allowed them to grow up.

No, I wasn’t stuck in my glory days. I was homesick.

I didn’t start this book hoping for a happy ending in which the main characters change who they are and miraculously they find a way to work things out and live happily ever after. I started this book with my heart open to possibilities. Things could go very wrong or too right. I wanted it to be somewhere in the middle.

I love how the book ended, I smiled so much my face hurt a little. I was surprised by the outcome, it wasn’t exactly how I picture it, but it was so much better. Ben Monopoli writes exquisitely and I love him every day a little bit more. This book isn’t too much like so many books can be. It’s not overwhelming but you will find yourself in turmoil of feeling, even if you don’t relate to the characters. The Cranberry Hush is sweet and real, painful and hopeful, and I loved it.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it is really sweet and I think everybody will love it.
Rate: 4/5

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness ☆

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“Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.”

Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Why you should read this book: Because it was a nice surprise, a different book about things that are familiar to us all.

Summary from Goodreads:

What if you aren t the Chosen One? The one who s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

We could keep being too afraid to say we don’t know stuff and then the future will come and eat us anyway and we’ll regret not doing all that stuff we wished we did.

This is my second Patrick Ness book and the second one I truly loved. This man can write and he keeps getting to me with deep emotions and fantastic stories. He makes me feel connected to the characters from beginning to end, whether they make me happy, sad or angry, they are fractions of me in different periods of my life. I identify so much in their actions that I myself become part of the story. How do you do that, Mr. Ness? No, don’t tell me, but keep doing it.

“But I don’t care what you think, not about these things anyway. If you don’t think they’re real or important or you think that we’ll all grow out of this nonsense, well, that’s not really my business. I can’t tell you what’s real for you. But in return, you can’t say what’s real for me either. I get to choose. Not you.”

The thing about living is that so many things can go wrong so you worry over everything, mostly over things you shouldn’t be worrying about but you can’t help yourself and you worry a lot. Feelings generate deeper feelings, and these deeper feelings make you anxious. Anxiety is ugly, it sure is. Mikey, the main character of the story suffers from it, and he gets stuck in loops of actions that he thinks will make things better. He knows it won’t work but he can’t stop, he keeps doing it until he bleeds and cries. I fell in love with Mikey, he is a wonderful character, full of emotions, ignorant of what is going on around him, extremely sensitive, and willing to fight for the ones he love.

“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.”

In this weird world there have being several “apocalypses”: ghosts, vampires, gods. Somehow the “indie kids” or “chosen ones” are the ones being targeted by these entities and by sacrificing themselves they have to save the world. From what I understood, these indie kids are hipsters with weird names like Satchel or Kerouac who do things ironically. At the beginning of every chapter we get a summary of what is going on with the indie kids, then the chapter itself is what is going on with the main characters during that same lapse of time. It’s a really interesting way to tell a story like, here I am having this delicious cup of hot chocolate, while backstage there is a teenager sacrificing himself to kill the king of the undead. It’s funny!

Mikey and his friends are not the heroes of this story; they are trying to live their lives until graduation hoping the apocalypse won’t kill them all in the meantime. Well, yeah, Jared, Mikey’s best friend, is a quarter God of the Cats but they are mostly normal teenagers wanting to go to prom and everything. How great can it be to be worshipped by cats and felines in general? To be able to communicate with them on a daily basis? It’ll be a dream! Jared has secrets but one secret in particular was WTH? I would have never guessed it, everyone knew but Mikey and I. Not fair but, what a revelation. Nicely done, Mr. Ness!

“It has nothing to do with not trusting you. It’s to do with what something becomes once you tell it. It’s like it’s truer. And it’s got a life of its own and it rushes out into the world and becomes something you can’t control.”

Mikey is overprotective of his two sisters, Mel and Meredith. Mel had a rough time in the past and she is still struggling so Mikey worries a lot for her and wants her to be happy and serene. Meredith is still very young, only 10 years old, and he is trying to protect her from the ugliness that can be the real world.

“We share out craziness, our neuroses, our little bit of screwed-up-ness that comes from our family. We share it. And it feels like love.”

Henna is Mikey’s crush. He loves her so much, or he thinks he loves her more than anything in the world. He is so focused on his “love” for her that he is making things difficult for himself and for his friends. Lots of misunderstandings and fights lead to many interesting revelations. At first I wasn’t really fond of Henna: she appeared to be having feelings for the new kid Nathan, but then it seems that she was leading Mikey on like he had a chance. Feelings are complicated, I get it, so I forgave her for bringing Mikey pain because I understood what she was experiencing. Nothing is more confusing than love. What the hell is love? It brings joy, it brings pain, it builds mountains, it destroys planets. It’s overwhelming.

I step up onstage, still feeling at sea, feeling like I’ve just lost sight of shore and though I’m swimming okay for now, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep it up.

I loved this book and I’m not giving it enough credit with this mess of a review. There are so many things that need to be said, so many quotes to be written, so many feelings to be shared. It’s hard to write coherently when you loved a book as much as I loved this one. I didn’t know what to expect, I kind of bought it blindly and now that I finally got to read it, I want to punch myself for not having read it sooner.

Again, thank you Mr. Ness for all these wonderful experiences that you are sharing with us. If I could hug you, I would!

Do I recommend it? Yes, you’re welcome.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

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“Everyone’s on the cliff edge of normal. Everyone finds life an utter nightmare sometimes, and there’s no ‘normal’ way of dealing with it… There is no normal, Evelyn.”

Title: Am I Normal Yet?
Author: Holly Bourne
Why you should read this book: It gives you a very real point of view of what this particular mental illness feels like for the people fighting it.

Evie only wants a normal teenager life after years fighting an illness that kept her from facing the world. The only things that is keeping her from being like her friends is a boyfriend. She thinks that a boy is going to keep her normal. She doesn’t know that teenage boys are difficult to deal with and, even with the friends telling her to be careful, she puts all of herself into new relationships. If she is not ready to tell her new friends about who she really is, how can she be ready for her first love?

“Do you ever wondered, he asked, how we decide what’s mad and what isn’t? There’s so much crazy stuff in the world – everything’s a mess most of the time – but then people who can’t handle it are called mental and have films made about them… But what if they’re just reacting to the weirdness of the universe? Isn’t it more weird to just think everything’s okay, when it clearly isn’t?”

Let’s begin by saying that I have problems with the “normal” situation. What is normal? If I am normal, then the people making different decisions or taking different paths from me are not normal? I like to think that I make my normality, I decide what’s best for me, what keeps me breathing and roll with it. I decided long ago that I wouldn’t compare my life and my decisions to others, life doesn’t work that way.

The main character of this book is Evie, she is young, she is sick and recovering (also thanks to movies!) but she is naive, immature, she thinks being normal means you can do what you want, you have to have a boyfriend etc etc. I really don’t know what an OCD person must feel like, the struggle inside, trying to be like everyone else. Of course I had my “logic thoughts” throughout the book but that’s exactly the problem. She doesn’t do logic, she had her own logic, one that she built inside her head so that she can feel better (touching lamp posts 6 times, touching the mirror…). I understood some of what she was feeling, the different logic she used, I didn’t think she was “crazy” like she wanted to believe.

“Solidarity. That’s what girls need more of. Solidarity.”

Her friends! Jane, the “I morph for my boyfriend” Jane. She knew yet she didn’t see the changes, she wasn’t a friend at all, she could’ve helped. Amber and Lottie were fantastic. With Evie they were three girls so different but perfectly matched. Unfortunately Evie was too much into the “I want a boy to love me, that’s the key to solve my problems” situation and she didn’t understand how valuable that friendship really was.

“He’s been so changeable with her I’m surprised he’s not been accepted to Hogwarts for his transfiguration skills.”

Evie’s boys! Yes, boys. How is it “normal”, as she claimed, to fall in love with whoever gives you even a minimum attention? People with whom we can fall in love are all around us but we don’t start building fake lives with every single one of them. Evie felt good when a boy talked to her, she gave them all of her and those fake feelings crushed her. Platonic love. She tried everything she could to feel better but the illness didn’t show the whole picture, how boys can make you feel if they don’t text back, if they ignore you or if they don’t invite you out on a date.

Her family. It’s hard not to use your own logic when you see other people doing something that for you is wrong. Evie made that mistake, her parents made that mistake and also her little sister made that mistake. There aren’t rules (there are generic rules, I know that) on how to deal with someone who has a mental illness because people are different, we all have our heads, our rational or irrational thoughts and often we can’t see what’s on the other side. The best you can do is look for help if you sense something is not quiet right, as much as it feels like a personal failure, looking for help is the only way.

Love may not have the shape you want it to have but if you look hard enough you’ll see that there’s plenty around you and that your happiness is as important as theirs, if not more!

This book gives you a point of view that may give you frustration, it will make you mad and it will make you feel powerless. Well, that’s the point!

Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s a fun and well written story.
Rate: 4/5

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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“The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”

Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Why you should read this book: This is a wonderful book about ugly things, things that make us uncomfortable, angry and sad, things that need to disappear.

“Happiness shouldn’t be this hard.”

Aaron is a 16-year old dealing with a lot of pain. His father committed suicide a few months ago and he tried taking his own life before realizing how selfish that decision was. He has a girlfriend and friends he hangs out with. One day during a game he meets Thomas and they instantly became best friends. When his girlfriend Genevieve leaves for an art camp he is left with his not too happy thoughts, his friends that don’t really get what he’s been through and Thomas, the only one who he feels happy with. Aaron realizes he is having deep feelings for his new friend, feelings he can’t let anyone know, and he decides that only the memory alteration procedure Leteo Institute offers can save him from who he really is.

“Memories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own. You can’t really know which ones you’ll survive if you don’t stay on the battlefield, bad times shooting at you like bullets. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of good times to shield you.”

A lot of feelings were given to me by this little book.
I was ANGRY-SAD-ANGRY-SAD-MOSTLY ANGRY!
I’m a little heartbroken. A little because I liked how it ended. The last sentence of the book is my favorite, simple but it hits you because you know everything that’s behind it.
I’m angry, like SUPER angry, because reading this made me realize how real this situation is. How homophobia is still too present in society. What says about human beings if you are afraid of being who you are because you might get beaten to death because of it?? What says about us if the only way to be “happy” is to forget about who we are so that we can be accepted into the world?
That’s sick and it makes me so mad!!

In this book’s reality there is the Leteo Institute that helps you forget about things you can’t live on if you remember them. A dead child, husband, brother, a very hard situation, etc. How convenient. I can’t say it’s easy to live with pain. I don’t want to generalize and say you have to live with it and keep going with your life. It’s hard, days seem to never end, thoughts crush you, you feel your soul leaving your body. It’s not nice at all but of course I would never want to forget. These experiences, sad, heartbreaking, scary, are the ones that make me who I am now. I may have lots of problems but I’m me and I like being me.

“We all make mistakes… but it’s also a step in the right direction. If nothing else it’s a step away from the wrong one.”

Homophobia, bullying, racism are things that always makes me feel violent against other people. I hate violence but ignorance makes me so angry because it’s EASY to be a nice person and let people live their life with whoever makes them happy!!
Aaron’s friends, his father and the other ignorant guys are the worst. The scenes with them were really hard to read, I wanted to punch them all.
We are brainwashed thinking there is a “normal” and you have to do things that make you be “normal”. There is no normal. People are hardheaded, I’m afraid changing them is impossible and it makes me feel really sad. I still do, in my little world, everything I can to stand for what I believe is right.

I was thinking about this book this morning (I finished it yestersay night) and a dumb metaphor came to me. I always think of dumb metaphors. I have to start writing them down.

There are different breakfast people. Some like salty food, some like sweet food, some only coffee, some healthy smoothies, etc. I am a salty breakfast person. When I meet a sweet breakfast person I am not being made fun of because I eat differently from them. It’s still breakfast and if a sandwich makes me happy there is nothing wrong about it. There is not a “normal” breakfast, maybe there is a kind of breakfast that the majority of people likes. People with different breakfast tastes can eat together, the conversation will still be the same, everyone it’s still nice to eat together, what you have on your plate doesn’t matter, even if I’m eating eggs, you a donut, and another person rice. Looks easy, right? Exactly!! Because that’s how it is suppose to be.

Dumb metaphor aside, this book is really important. I read people saying it’s unforgettable and it really is. You start seeing a reality, you think you know how things are going to continue….WRONG. Part one introduced me to who Aaron was and I got to know him, I liked who he was, I didn’t like his friends, I felt he was in pain but he was looking for happiness. Part zero destroyed me, I can’t say anything about it, I am not able to say anything about it. Part two gave the book an ending I accepted and liked, it was how it needed to end. This book will make you think a lot. Life won’t be the same and it doesn’t matter, you won’t want it to be the same. Thanks to the author for giving us this important book.

I won’t forget him.

Do I recommend it? Yes, this is one of those books that you carry in your heart, one that you want to share with the world but, at the same time, you want to have it all for yourself.
Rate: 5/5

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