The title might tell readers what to expect, but there's a heartbreaking, heartwarming journey before the emotional end that will inspire teens to live bigger and better. Adam Silvera is one of YA's most interesting writers, because he doesn't shy away from death, grief, or loss. Like his other books, this one involves LGBTQ New York City teens, and as in his debut, there's a technological feature that changes the way people live. The premise isn't entirely new, but the way he implements it is, because Mateo and Rufus don't spend the precious time they have in their final day trying to find a desperate way around it. As Mateo makes clear early on, even a former president who hid himself in a secret shelter ended up assassinated by the Secret Service. No one can get around death once Death-Cast calls. The title isn't a spoiler, because it's not the point of the book.
Instead, Silvera's characters benefit from some of the perks of being on Death-Cast's list, like discounts and special Decker-only activities. They do small, quiet things (visit Mateo's dad in the hospital, his mom in the cemetery), as well as take virtual-reality trips around the world, and sing karaoke. The story doesn't feel like a race against time, and in fact unfolds at a slow, thoughtful pace, with the exception of a few sequences, like when bicyclist Rufus is running (well, riding) from the police or when he and Mateo are surviving (against the odds) a couple of deadly situations. In some ways, the book is reminiscent of The Sun Is Also a Star, because it's about one powerful day in which two teens change each other's lives -- and also because Silvera offers several short chapters from other characters' perspectives, always starting with whether Death-Cast has or has not called that person. This isn't a book that's going to work for readers who demand a happily ever after, but it's such a thought-provoking and sweet read nonetheless.