Title: The Next Together
Author: Lauren James
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 1st November 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thanks to Walker Books Australia for the review copy!
A powerful and epic debut novel about fate and the timelessness of first love.
Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.
How many times can you lose the person you love? For Matthew and Katherine it is again and again, over and over, century after century.
But why do they keep coming back? How many times must they die to save the world? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different…
I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect here. However, after my recent successes with romances, particularly A Thousand Pieces of You, I was enthusiastic to give it a go.
I loved the structure of the book – there are chapters, but there are also documents, which belong to different ‘time landscapes’. These include ‘handwritten’ notes, Google searches, blog posts, letters. It was a really intriguing addition to the novel.
The story itself runs over three different time periods, though we are led to believe that there are more. Carlisle, England, 1745. Crimea, Ukraine, 1854. University of Nottingham, England, 2039. There are also multiple documents from the time landscape of 2019, though we never get a full point of view from that story. Instead, we learn about that Katherine and Matthew through their 2039 counterparts. Occasionally the jumps were a bit disorientating, but the story was still brilliant. My favourite time landscape was the 2039, purely because I thought we would learn a lot more about what the hell was going on! But the notes from 2019 were hysterical – the character of Katherine has a GREAT sense of humour.
The whole way through there are notes made in programming format, leading us to believe that Katherine and Matthew are science experiments. While we learn a little bit more about that, I was still super confused by the end. Luckily, there is a second book which hopefully answer all my questions and give me some closure! I just felt like there was something missing, a lack of explanation about what EXACTLY is going on….. And it doesn’t answer the blurb question either – I still want to know what they need to do before they can be left in peace.
This is a story I will be thinking about for a VERY long time. I hope I’ll be able to get my hands on the second one quick-smart (well, in September 2016….) because there are STILL so many questions to be answered. Normally that would annoy me (see Crucible of Souls) but Lauren James gave me just enough to leave me satisfied for the moment.
Mysterious and awesome (I love it when authors mess with history!!!), The Next Together is another great new series in the YA genre. Love the time landscape, but desperately want to know more about what is driving this phenomenon!