They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
History is All You Left Me was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I eagerly put They Both Die at the End on my January TBR. And I completely adored it. I have become a huge fan of Adam Silvera’s writing.
As with History is All You Left Me, I loved the two protagonists – Mateo and Rufus – as well as the incredibly inventive story. The teenagers arrange to meet after receiving a call from Death Cast informing them that today’s the day they will die. They’re not told how they’ll die, or when, but it’ll definitely be today. Mateo struggles to deal with this announcement. His father’s in a coma and Mateo doesn’t want to cause pain to his best friend, while Rufus is busy punching his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Not wanting to be alone on their final day, they reach out via an app called Last Friend, and thus begins the last opportunity to live their life to the full.
They Both Die at the End takes place over an emotional 24 hours. Although it’s set over such a short time, the pacing is perfect. It moves swiftly – you’re constantly aware that time is running out for our two boys – and yet it never, ever feels hurried or rushed. Over the day, we get to know Mateo and Rufus and I was constantly on edge, wondering what would really happen at the end. They Both Die at the End has such a fascinating concept: What would you do if you got a phone call saying you would die within the next 24 hours? It’s paralysing even to think about, and yet I couldn’t stop. I thoroughly enjoyed going on a journey with this unlikely pair and discovering more about this alternate universe.
Adam Silvera has definitely made it onto my auto-buy list! They Both Die at the End might end up being one of my favourite books of the year, too.
“I truly believe we should live our lives as soon as possible and to the best of our abilities, because unlike the characters in this book, I don’t know how much time I have left in this universe. And neither do you. So don’t wait too long to become who you want to be – the clock is ticking.”
Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall
I needed to treat myself to a super fun story and Secrets of a Teenage Heiress seemed like the perfect choice – plus there’s a tiny sausage dog on the cover! Secrets of a Teenage Heiress is about Felicity Royale aka Flick, whose mum is the owner of the amazing Hotel Royale. Flick has grown up in the hotel – they have their own flat on one of the floors! – and is oblivious to how lucky she is, or how special her home is. Surely it’s the dream? But Flick isn’t all that fussed, until a famous teenage pop stars comes to visit and she gets the chance to see it through someone else’s eyes.
As a teenager, I would’ve loved to discover the Hotel Royale series – I devoured Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries. As well as the exciting setting, I loved the relationship between Flick and Cal, the son of a Hotel Royale employee. It’s not often that we see friendships between boys and girls in teenage fiction, and Cal keeps Flick grounded – she can be a little stubborn, self-centred and unaware of her privilege. I’m looking forward to seeing how their friendship develops. It’s such an ‘adult’ observation, but I admired Flick’s hardworking mum – even if she could be around a little bit more. As the owner of one of the most famous hotels in the country, she’s an excellent role model for her teenager daughter. (I also loved Fritz, her sausage dog. I, too, would have an Instagram account for my pupper, but perhaps not quite as many followers).
Secrets of a Teenage Heiress is a fun novel, full of a colourful cast of characters and an awe-inspiring setting.
You can also read Katy Birchall’s guest post on facts about three fancy London hotels.
The Fallen Children by David Owen
David Owen’s The Fallen Children is a YA retelling of John Wyndham’s 1950s sci-fi story, The Midwich Cuckoos (also made into a film called The Village of the Damned). Like the original story, a mysterious blackout occurs and everyone in the Midwich Estate collapses, almost as if they’ve fallen asleep. In David Owen’s story, four teenagers become pregnant after the unexpected ‘Nightout’. But why? And how? And what will the babies become?
The Fallen Children shines a light on Keisha, Olivia, Siobhan, Maida and Morris (Keisha’s ex-boyfriend-turned-friend). As well as being a chilling and thrilling science fiction story, it tackles the way pregnant teenagers today are judged and treated, and how it’s tough for working class teenagers to escape their situation. Even Keisha, a smart and popular student, was quickly demoted by her community. I would’ve loved to hear more from Olivia – the only twenty-something in the group – and the only girl who had previously been trying to get pregnant, but was told she wouldn’t be able to. Perhaps an adult spinoff, David?!
On a plane on the way to Edinburgh, I was captivated by The Fallen Children. I tried to like them, I really did, but the babies terrified me. It was fascinating to see how each of the girls reacted to their sudden pregnancy, and it was heartbreaking knowing that very few people believed the girls. If you’ve not picked up YA sci-fi for a while, this could be one for you!