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16 Bittersweet Books Like They Both Die At The End

Last Updated on November 25, 2023 by Louisa

When I finished reading They Both Die At The End by Adam Silva, I was left feeling hollow – like I wasn’t ready for it to end.

The story was sad, captivating, and poignant, and I immediately wanted to read some similar books to They Both Die At The End afterward.

The story gives insight into how someone would spend their last 24 hours if they knew it was their last, but because it is set in an alternate universe, it has themes of sci-fi mixed with fantasy and coming of age as well.

If you’re wondering what to read after They Both Die At The End that will leave your heart feeling warm, and your mind feeling conflicted and pondering your own existence, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, I’ve shared some of my favorite books like They Both Die At The End for anyone who feels like they need to fill a void.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Quick Answer: 3 Best Books Like They Both Die At The End!

Need a book fast but don’t have much time? Here are my top favorite books like They Both Die At The End

Our Favourites!

Thirteen Reasons Why 10th Anniversary Edition

#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Novel

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  • A story about a teen suicide who leaves behind tapes explaining her reasons
  • A New York Times Bestseller for 228 weeks
  • Winner of the California Book Award Silver Medal in 2008

The Song of Achilles

#2 Best in LGBTQ 

The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller

  • About an exiled young man who falls in love with a demigods son
  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of The Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2012

The Sun Is Also a Star

#3 Best in Young Adult

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

  • A coming-of-age story of two high school teens, one from Korea and one from Jamaica, and how they change each other’s lives.
  • Winner of the Yoon the John Steptoe New Talent Award
  • Now also a motion picture film made by Warner Brothers

Summary of They Both Die At The End

Before I get into the top similar books to They Both Die At The End, let’s quickly recap the story. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending if you are still reading!

The story is set in an alternate world, where Death-Cast, a company, selects people to die by politely letting them know that their impending death will come within the next 24 hours.

This gives them time to say goodbye to loved ones, experience bucket list activities, or tie loose ends.

In They Both Die At The End, we follow two lads, Rufus and Mateo, who both don’t want to die alone. During their last 24 hours, they traverse the streets, spending the few hours they have left in the world together.

The story focuses less on the actions, but on their thoughts, ideas, and budding feelings. It’s an intriguing concept and one that keeps you captivated to the very end, even though the title gives away the ending.

It has themes of mortality and the meaning of life, the contrast between choice and consequences, found family, dehumanization, and a budding LGBTQ relationship.

Related Reading: They Both Die At The End Quotes

Best Books Like They Both Die At The End

Whether you’re looking for something to get your thinking more deeply about the world, or you’re looking for a budding romance between two LGBTQ characters, there is something for everyone on my list.

1. Denton Little’s Death Date – Lance Rubin

One of the main themes of They Both Die At The End is mortality and how the characters choose to spend their final moments alive.

Denton’s Little Death Date has a similar theme and is set in a world where every person knows the exact date they will die.

In this story, we follow Denton, whose death date approaches. As he spends his final hours enjoying as many life experiences as possible, the reader gains further insight into his thought process on this last day, including his thoughts about life’s regrets and triumphs.

At his per-funeral party, Denton makes a decision that radically changes his final hours. 

On his final journey, he decides to figure out love and what he wants out of life, but he also notices something suspicious happening that may interfere with his death date.

Like They Both Die At The End, this book will have you thinking about your own life and whether you’re really living each day to the fullest.

However, it has a bit more mystery and suspense than They Both Die At The End and is great for readers who enjoy entertaining young adult novels.

View it on:

2. I Hope You Get This Message – Farah Naz Rishi

One of the questions that They Both Die At The End had me asking was, “what loose ends would we want to tie if we weren’t going to make it to tomorrow?

This is something that the characters in I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Niz Rishi made me question as well.

Like They Both Die At The End, I Hope You Get This Message is a sci-fi novel.

It begins when aliens invaded Earth, and the entire planet is in ruins. There are only 7 days left until the world end. What would you do with those seven days?

This story follows 3 main characters. Cate wants to find her father, who she’s never met.

Adeem wants to make amends with this distant sister. Jesse feels like nothing matters and this alien invasion is just one more traumatic event.

While all 3 characters are on different journeys and their paths collide at just the right time.

This story is imaginative and fast-paced, and also has you thinking deeply and philosophically about life and death and its meaning.

3. Meet Me In Another Life – Catriona Silvey

Are you after more thought-provoking sci-fi books like They Both Die At The End to add to your collection? Meet Me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey is a beautiful story that will have you believing in true love.

The story follows Santi and Thora who are strangers that meet in a foreign city by chance.

They form an instant bond as they get to know one another. However, a tragic accident prevents their friendship from blossoming.

But the universe has plans for these two spirits who are meant for each other.

As the story progresses, we meet Thora and Santi in other lifetimes. In some scenarios, they are teacher and student, in others they doctor and patient.

Throughout time, Thora and Santi meet again in many forms and many situations. When a shocking revelation comes to life they must discover the truth behind their relationship.

This is a gripping story about two people who are destined to be together, who find one another again. It’s complex but also incredibly moving, and has a twist that you won’t see coming!

4. They Said This Would Be Fun – Eternity Martis

One of the biggest revelations from They Both Die At The End was how the characters choose to live their lives to the fullest in their final moments.

They Said This Would Be Fun by Eternity Martis is a true story about a young woman living her life on her terms, no matter what obstacles get in her way.

This memoir tells the story of Eternity Martis and her university experience. While she was excited about the experience, but things weren’t so easy for her.

She meets many obstacles, including racism, an abusive partner, and more, but Eternity didn’t let anything stop her chase her dreams and reaching her goals.

What I love about this book is the strength of Eternity and how she thinks about situations. It’s profound and thought-provoking and is just as eye-opening as They Both Die At The End.

**Disclaimer: This book contains some scenes of abuse that may distress readers**

5. Early Departures – Justin A Reynolds

They Both Die At The End gets me thinking about what I would do if I knew I would never see someone I love again.

Early Departures by Justin A Reynolds is another story that has themes of life and death and the finality of departing this world.

But it’s different from They Both Die At The End in that it is a story that gives people a second chance.

In this book, a new technology can re-animate the recently deceased.

However, it’s only for a short time.

After Jamal’s ex-best friend dies, he uses the re-animation to get a second chance to make their relationship right. 

It’s a short and sweet novel with a heartwarming story that focuses on the ideals and thought processes over the plot.

6. The Song Of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Are you looking for LGBTQ books like They Both Die At The End? If so, The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a great similar book.

This is a fantasy book that takes place in the Greek heroic age.

It follows Patroclus who is exiled by his father and must live in the court of Peleus. 

He soon strikes up a relationship with the host’s son Achilles, who’s also a demi-god.

But starting a bond with a demi-god has its risks.

The Song of Achilles is an eye-opening read. It may be based on mythical legends and fantasy, but the relationship between the two characters is realistic and relatable.

It’s no wonder this book has been inspiring generations of LGBTQ people over the past few years.

7. 13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher

They Both Die At The End focuses on your actions at the end of your life, whereas 13 Reasons Why focuses on how your actions affect other people’s lives.

You may have heard of this book after it became a hit Netflix TV Series, but the book is where it all began.

The story follows Clay Jenson who receives a mysterious package one day. The package contains a series of 13 tapes recorded by his friend and crush, Hannah Baker.

Hannah took her own life and Clay is still reeling with grief, but before she passed she recorded the 13 reasons why she took her life.

As Clay listens to the tapes, he soon discovers that he is one of them.

If you’re looking for other books that have you questioning the morality of life and how actions have consequences, then this book certainly does that. It’s quite an emotional read, which is why it’s very similar to They Both Die At The End.

**Disclaimer: This book contains some scenes of abuse and self-harm that may distress readers**

8. The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon

They Both Die At The End shows readers that every moment matters. This is something that the characters in The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon also make you feel.

The story follows Daniel and Natasha who are strangers in NYC, and yet meet through a twist of fate. Although, neither of these characters believes in fate. 

Daniel’s dealing with family stress, while Natasha’s family is about to be deported.

Throughout it all, they realize that some things are meant to be.

Like They Both Die At The End, this story focuses on the relationship building between two characters who meet through fate and circumstance. It’s another thought-provoking read that will hit you right in the feels.

9. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead – Emily Austin

One of my favorite LGBTQ books that has similar themes to They Both Die At The End is Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin.

The story begins when a mistake in a meeting results in Gilda being hired to replace a recently deceased receptionist at the church.

Since Gilda has always been awkward, she didn’t correct the mistake and took on the job. 

This situation has Gilda in over her head. She’s secretly hiding her new girlfriend and impersonating the dead receptionist through email, so she doesn’t have to be the one to tell people the lady has passed.

This is both hilarious and macabre, with characters that are relatable and likable.

I found Gilda to be an interesting character; despite being comfortable as a lesbian, she often has questions about the nature of human existence which adds a thought-provoking element to the story.

10. We Are All The Same In The Dark – Julia Heaberlin

I enjoyed They Both Die At The End because it redefined how I look at things. That is something I also enjoy about We Are All The Same In The Dark by Julia Heaberlin.

The story follows Wyatt Branson who has been an outcast in the community since his sister, Tru, went missing.

Things change when he finds a lost girl in a dandelion field. 

His sister’s best friend Odette is now a cop.

She’s determined to help this lost girl while solving the mystery behind Tru Branson’s cold case.

However, once she uncovers the truth, things in town will never be the same.

This is the perfect blend of mystery and suspense, and has some scenes that are a little unsettling. If you would prefer to read a thriller next, then this is a good option. It’s beautifully written and has twists that will leave your jaw on the floor.

11. Heartstopper – Alice Oseman

I love the connection between LGBTQ characters in They Both Die At The End, which is why I couldn’t get enough of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

The story follows Charlie who was outed at the beginning of the school year and experienced a lot of bullying.

Nick has always noticed Charlie but never had the opportunity to meet him. Before his outing, he thought he would never have the chance to meet or be with him.

But fate has a way of bringing people together.

Just like They Both Die At The End, this is an uplifting tale of opposites attracting and finding your place in the world. It was sweet and tender, and I couldn’t put down.

12. Red, White, & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

If you want to read an LGBTQ rom-com novel next, then Red, White, and Royal Blue won’t disappoint. It’s both hilarious and heartwarming, and has themes of opposites attracting, just like in They Both Die At The End.

The story follows Alex, the first son of the president, and Henry a member of the British royal family.

For many years they have been each other’s nemesis, but when Alex gets the perfect chance to sabotage Henry, it doesn’t go to plan.

To smooth things over with the media, they begin a fake relationship/friendship. However, as they learn more about each other, they realize that all these hard feelings could have been an attraction. 

If you’re an enemies to romance story with a slow burning romance, then a book like Red, White, and Royal Blue will have you hooked until the last page.

13. Noggin – John Corey Whaley

One of the aspects I enjoyed about They Both Die At The End is the alternate reality the story takes place in. That’s part of what makes Noggin such a fun story.

In this world, characters can have their heads frozen after death.

Travis dies of illness at the age of 16, and many years later, his head is placed on a donor body.

He’s back, but his world is different. 

This is both a hilarious read and one that gets you thinking. If you love science fiction books that keep you glued to the pages, then you’ll want to pick up Noggin next.

14. Both Can Be True – Jules Machias

Unexpected romance stories always brighten my day, and if you’re the same, then you should add Both Can Be True by Jules Machias to your to-read list.

Ash struggles with their identity. While they were born a guy, Ash is sometimes more comfortable being a girl. A chance encounter brings them to Daniel, where the 2 bond over saving a dog. 

They have a great connection, but there’s only one problem. Daniel thinks Ash is a girl.

To make matters worse, Ash doesn’t know how to be open about their gender fluidity.

But, could this friendship help Ash come to terms with their identity and learn that it’s okay not to fit in?

Like They Both Die At The End, this book has an optimistic story of self-discovery and finding one’s place in the world. It’s sweet and emotional and will hit you right in the heart.

15. History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silva

If you loved Adam Silva’s writing style, then you should try reading more of his work. One other book by him I loved was History Is All You Left Me.

This book is all about how things can change in an instant.

The story follows Griffin who is away at college and is casually seeing a classmate, Jackson.

However, he does not doubt that he will end up with his first love Theo. That is until Theo tragically dies in a car accident.

Things are blurry for Griffin as his world has come crumbling down. Yet, throughout it all, he realizes that Jackson is the one person that can help him make it through.

Will Griffin be able to pick up the pieces of his history to rebuild his future?

Like They Both Die At The End, this book has themes of LGBTQ, the balance between life and death, and how people react in the face of death.

16. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Shwab

Another book that has you thinking about life and the mark you leave on this world is The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, which is all about a young girl who is not satisfied with the idea of dying and being forgotten.

Addie Larue is an individual who craves for eternity but fears death and oblivion. When given the chance to live forever, she jumps at it, aware of the fact that everyone she has ever known and loved will fade away with time.

Three centuries later, a man from her past appears in a bookstore — and her life suddenly changes in an unimaginable way.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue explores concepts of death, remembrance, and love. It’s gorgeously and poetically written and is full of thought-provoking messages.

If you’re looking for a book similar to They Both Die At The End that’s captivating and songful, then you’re going to love this book.

Related Reading: Best Books Like The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

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books like they both die at the end

Final Words On Best Books Like They Both Die At The End

I love a book that reminds me of the importance of living life to the fullest and not having any regrets.

In these books, I have picked books that gave me that same insight after I read it, and I hope that you found this list as inspiring as I did.

If you think there are other books that I didn’t mention and should have, tell me about them in the comments below!

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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