Rating: 5 stars
This book… I cannot give high enough praise to this book, it was an emotional journey from beginning to end, and I loved being pulled along with it. You would think by reading the title that I would have gone into this book prepared for how it would turn out, and yet I spent the whole time I was reading just wishing that the title was a ploy instead of a truth. But, not so spoiler alert, the title follows through exactly as stated.
One thing I found fascinating in this book is how expertly the different personalities were protrayed though description, language and everything else. The different points of view the book was written in were used very cleverly to show this. Often with different points of view it still feels like the same person writing and thinking, it doesn’t feel like you are truly in another characters mind, whereas here there wasn’t even need to see whose chapter it was as the writing styles were so clearly associated with each character. The contrast between the main two boys, Rufus and Mateo, was especially clear. The language used for Mateo was restrained, intellegent and felt like each word was carefully chosen so that it was always clear exactly what he was thinking. However Rufus’s chapters used much more harsh and angry language, with slang and swear words used a lot, which did not only reflect his personality but also the difference of the world he was brought up in compared to Mateo’s.
Another thing I loved about this book was the use of other characters perspectives outside of the main two characters. These were used expertly both to fill in gaps in the story and explain some of the characters’ actions, and also just to give a general feeling of the world. It was interesting to see other people’s reactions to the DeathCast calls even though they were irrelvant to the overarching story. I felt that this made the book read as if this world was completely real, not just a ploy to make an interesting storyline as many unrelated people were also having to deal with the same problem.
In addition, I really enjoyed that a lot of the terminology used, for example ‘Decker’, was never explicitly explained, it was just used repeatedly and so it was clear from context what its meaning was. This again made the world believable, as people living in this world would never feel the need to explain a word which to them is common in every day life, so it made perfect sense for the word or phrase to just be thrown around casually with no explanation as to its meaning or origin.
One reason I think this book resonated with me so much is because as soon as I heard the premise for this book I instantly started thinking ‘What would I do if I got a call from DeathCast? How could I live waiting for that call every day?’ and the thoughts that sprung to mind straight away were almost exactly those of Mateo in this book. This resulted in me connecting with this character from page one and then really feeling like I was experiencing that day for myself as his thought process and reactions felt so familiar to me.
I think the most heart-wrenching aspect of this book for me (keeping it vague to avoid spoilers) was that one of the characters makes a huge revelation that would substanitally effect their life, most likely for the better, but you follow them experiencing this knowing they will never get the chance to enjoy their life with all this newly found potential. There is a whole part of their life which they missed out on, and only the fear of their immenent death was enough for them to break out of their comfort zone to realise it, when it is inevitably too late.
Overall this was an utterly fantastic read which I am certain I will be revisiting in the not so distant future, and I am sure will have just as powerful an effect on me as it did on my first read. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone, especially anybody with an interest in psychology and thought patterns, as this book touches a lot on these topics.
– Maddie Browse