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Reviewed by: Martin, grade 12


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin follows the lives of 4 siblings: Varya, Simon, Daniel, and Klara who are in possession of the date they are supposedly supposed to die. One day in 1969, the 4 siblings discover a mysterious fortune teller who is supposedly able to predict the date of people’s deaths and ask her to predict their deaths. After this point, the story splits into four parts that go over the lives of each of the siblings until their deaths. Simon explores the idea that he is not happy living in a location that mocks him for being gay, so he decides to move to San Francisco to live his dream life. Klara moves to San Francisco with Simon as well to try to become a famous magician. Daniel, depressed that he lost his job decides to investigate whether or not the fortune teller was right about his sibling's deaths all along, and Varya who tries to find the solution to eternal life.

What I enjoyed about the book is how the main characters all reacted towards their supposed deaths differently. Simon became very careless, believing that he would die soon anyway, he might as well enjoy life while he can. Klara takes her death and reacts to it like she believes that it is true, even though she had the choice to not commit suicide, she did it anyway because she believed it was her destiny. Daniel didn’t believe it at first but as his siblings continued to die at the dates predicted, he started to doubt himself and begun to believe that it was true. Finally, Varya believed none of it but tried to find the solution to long life, sacrificing her life in the process. All the characters sound like real human beings and did realistic things. What is also interesting is what would have happened if the siblings did not tell each other about their deaths, considering the fortune teller told each of them not to. They would probably have been superstitious about the dates and dismiss them. Causing none of them to die on those dates. As one death led to another. Only Varya realized this at the end and decided to stop caring so much about living forever as she knew you cannot control when it happens.

What I did not think was as good about the story was that it took a while before the story started to get interesting in my opinion. Simon’s part wasn’t the best. While I enjoyed Simon as a character, the plot that occurred felt unnecessary and focused way too much on his sexual experiences and didn’t focus as much on the other aspects of his life. I wish the author made the book longer so that each of the four characters could have gotten longer parts so that their stories could have been fleshed out more about what they have done with their lives and how they reacting to their impending doom.

This book is for people who like to explore the psychological aspect of people who learn knowledge that they would not benefit from knowing and how each of them treats the death of those they know and themselves differently.

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