If I had to describe The Next Together with one word, it would be, one-of-a-kind. A romance travelling through time and space? Now, this is the kind of book I’m interested to read, actually, it sounds like it was made for me. A crazy-ambitious plot, a wonderful idea, with which I struggled, at times, but, in the end, it was worth it.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE COLLIDE
“All throughout history they had been doing this, finding and loving each other and then being ripped apart before they even had a chance to live.”
Katherine and Matthew are, somehow, destined to meet each other again, in every of their lives. During the Crimea War, the Siege of Carlisle, in 2019 or 2036, it seems like they forever meet each other again. For what reason? What is this invisible force, this craziness that always seems to bring them together? As a reader, we are witness of the eternal reborn of their relationship, and how, in every world, they manage to do CRAZY things, weird things, DANGEROUS things, just because it feels like they have to. Is that their destiny?! This whole story is crazy, just so you know, before starting it. We’re thrown between timelines, universes that seem so different, yet we find out familiar faces in Katherine and Matthew, two characters I really liked. But more on that later. This whole idea, this plot of an unusual romance spanning through time, mixing historical facts, events, futuristic thoughts (they are kind of bad, okay), and contemporary, chasing, running away from bad guys, preventing deaths and all of this kind of thing… Well, this whole idea was pretty AWESOME. Hats off to Lauren James for that, I mean, where did you get that idea and why has no one done it before? It is brilliant. Moreover, the whole design of the book makes it feel like you’re trying to resolve a mystery yourself, too. I won’t say anything, but little lines at the end of every chapter makes you wonder, right from the start, what really is this story you’re reading.
SASSY CHARACTERS = YES! … but INSTA-LOVE = …WHY?!
“Although, you know, thinking about it, I’m not sure I really remember how we got engaged… I remember the next morning and the ring we chose. Katherine, please say you didn’t torture me until I proposed or do something so equally terrible that I erased it from my memory?”
Both Katherine and Matthew were great characters, and it was easy to care about their destiny and what happens to them. They were both funny and their interactions were always so, so good to read. I absolutely loved Katherine’s sassiness, Matthew’s sometimes shyness and awkwardness. Since we’re reading the story in different timelines, we are bound to rediscover these characters in different universes, different clothing, and different places. Yet they stayed the same, in a sometimes confusing story. Their relationship is strong, obviously, given that’s the whole point. BUT I clearly missed something, here: it’s the whole falling in love part. I get that, in this kind of book, the whole point is for them to be instantly connected, but it just didn’t seem very realistic. I love the falling in love part, in every book, and there…well, it kind of felt like insta-love, and I DON’T like that, at all. However, that didn’t prevent me from caring about their relationship.
QUESTIONS, ANSWERS…AND MORE QUESTIONS
I know, if you’re first hearing about this book, -or even if you have read it, because that’s my case-, you’re probably wondering: WHY is all of this happening? Why do they keep on meeting each other? This huge interrogation mark hangs over our head the whole time we’re reading, and a little bit afterwards, too. Like every curious reader, I tried to figure out what was really happening, who was doing that to them, or whatever, and the more I read, the more I felt confused about everything. The ending was a bit rushed, leaving me little time to really understand everything. I wanted to KNOW, and I feel like I was left with many questions, and not enough answers.
Between contemporary, sci-fi and historical book, you get a little bit of everything with The Next Together. It’s refreshing, it’s good, and it feels like you’re reading more than one book at a time. Sassy, funny main characters, and a mystery that’ll keep you guessing, even after the last page, this book is filled with all of that. Despite some drawbacks, it was definitely an ambitious debut, and I’ll be looking forward to everything Lauren James write next. Especially the sequel of this, because I still have questions and I’m not giving this up.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read The Next Together? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?! Were you, like me, a little bit confused? Do you want to read it? so feel free to share your thoughts in comments! 💬
Lauren James, The Next Together, Published by Walker Books, September 3rd 2015.
How many times can you lose the person you love?
Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.
Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?
Maybe the next together will be different…
A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.