Book Review: The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

This cover is the Barnes and Noble Special Edition which I own!

The First to Die at the End
Series: Death-Cast prequel
Author: Adam Silvera

Published: October 4, 2022
550 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 2-16, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars      

Book Description:

In this prequel to #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon They Both Die at the End, two new strangers spend a life-changing day together after Death-Cast first makes their fateful calls.

It’s the night before Death-Cast goes live, and there’s one question on everyone’s mind: Can Death-Cast actually predict when someone will die, or is it just an elaborate hoax?

Orion Pagan has waited years for someone to tell him that he’s going to die. He has a serious heart condition, and he signed up for Death-Cast so he could know what’s coming.

Valentino Prince is restarting his life in New York. He has a long and promising future ahead and he only registered for Death-Cast after his twin sister nearly died in a car accident.

Orion and Valentino cross paths in Times Square and immediately feel a deep connection. But when the first round of End Day calls goes out, their lives are changed forever—one of them receives a call, and the other doesn’t. Though neither boy is certain how the day will end, they know they want to spend it together…even if that means their goodbye will be heartbreaking.

Jessica’s Review:

Is it wrong to say I love this Death-Cast world that Adam Silvera has created??? It is more of the story that he gives the reader with these couples and the lesson to just live your life with the time that you have.  I just adored They Both Die at the End, and when I found out a prequel was coming out that shows the first night of Death-Cast, I was ready to go for another heartbreaking ride: This time with Valentino and Orion! This time one boy receives THE call and the other does not. I did have all the feelings I was supposed to have while reading They Both Die, but did not cry reading it, but Silvera got me with The First to Die! Oh man!

First is a long novel over 500 pages, and I never lost interest.  You know where it is going to go, but these novels are about the journey the characters go on.  We have many POVs throughout this novel which includes the creator of Death-Cast, Joaquin Rosa. Through him we get to see what that first night at Death-Cast is like with its ups and downs.  We get to see inside Death-Cast with some hints as to how it actually works. We see how Death-Cast already affects everyone, even if they are not subscribed to the app. It is a different world with Death-Cast live.

We also get cameos and more of young Rufus and Mateo which I really enjoyed. You see it in a different way knowing what their ultimate ending will become in just a few years.  Silvera did a great job taking us back into the past of 2010. For a city as huge as New York City is, to see how all the pov’s are connected show how small this world can be. The romance between Orion and Valentino is lovely and also heartbreaking. I can’t go into the ending because of spoilers, but it really pulled at the heartstrings of this reader.

Though The First to Die at the End is the prequel to They Both Die at the End, you should read They Both Die first. It gives you a different perspective reading The First to Die with several characters knowing where they end up.

Silvera plans to write more stories in this world, and I will be along for the ride. I don’t know if we will ever find out how Death-Cast works and can tell you who is going to die. I read somewhere that there are only two people other than Silvera that know the secret to Death-Cast, so I think it will always be a mystery to the reader.

If you haven’t read these books, you need to!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble Special Edition

Book Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius the Great is Not Okay
Darius the Great #1
Author: Adib Khorram

Published:  August 28, 2018
316 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming—especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush—the original Persian version of his name—and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

Kim’s Review:

This is a great story! To me, it’s the perfect coming of age story. There may be some teenage angst, but it doesn’t feel whiny. I’m no teenager anymore but I definitely related to Darius. Obviously, because we’re two different genders, there are some things that I’ll never really get. I mean, I never had to worry about circumcision the way the boys do. But the rest of it, not fitting in, loving things that aren’t cool, feeling like no one cares; I’ve been there! And bring in Star Trek and LOTR, I think Darius could be a kindred spirit. I also found his fascination with tea to be inspiring. I may not really like tea, but I can appreciate the little nuances. I think the relationship between Darius and Sohrab was really sweet. Khorram didn’t overdo it with the “everything has to be a woke lecture” thing and just let them be friends in a healthy and realistic way. By the time I got to the end, I was misty! Ok fine I was almost ugly crying but thankfully I didn’t full on ugly cry! I think this would be a really good one for those young nerds who haven’t figured out that fitting in isn’t all it’s cracked up to be yet. I definitely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure
Camryn Garrett

Published: October 29, 2019

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 1-5, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

Jessica’s Review:

Simone does not have an easy life:  Born with HIV and having to change schools, living with both of her dads who won’t let her even see her gynecologist on her own, now she meets a boy she is interested in.  But what about her HIV status and possible sex? She thinks things are going fine and then at her new school she gets an anonymous note in her locker…

If you want to read a novel with diversity then Full Disclosure will be the novel to read as it is extremely diverse. Full Disclosure talks very candidly about many subjects that most YA novels steer clear from: Sex and sexual health, vibrators, masturbation, and much more.  It also raises awareness about HIV and how it can be transmitted that the reader may or may not be familiar with. It also shows how one faces life living with HIV and when/how they should choose to disclose their status to others.  

Due to the nature of the novel, I would suggest parents read this novel first before passing it on to your teen.  This would be to see if your teenager is ready to read a novel like this, but also for the parent to prepare themselves as they may find themselves having to answer questions that may be raised. I would say this would be for the older teenagers from ages 16 and up. 

All of these characters are realistic and candid with their situations, and Simone and Miles are just cute together along with being honest and open with each other. In some ways they seem more mature than their age, which is understandable for Simone as she has been living with HIV her entire life 

Full Disclosure is recommended!

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK