Friday, October 09, 2015

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

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Review: The Next Together by Lauren JamesThe Next Together by Lauren James
Series: The Next Together #1
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on September 3, 2015
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, Time-Travel, YA
Buy on Amazon

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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

Wow… just wow.

When you hear the word “time-travel”, the first thing that comes to mind (usually) is “science fiction”. You think of the technology and machines that make this feat possible; you think of the physics involved, of subatomic atoms transferring from one place to another (or however that is supposed to be done); you think of action-packed plots, of conspiracy theories, that push our heroes and heroines to time travel in the first place.

But… romance? With time-travel? To be quite honest, the cynic in me long believed a time-travel with romance in the center would be hard to pull off without it being too cheesy. With a different audience in mind, it would also be hard to talk about the technicalities of how time travel works in the context without it being such an info-dump.

Then I read The Next Together by the lovely Lauren James. And my heart and soul fell in love with it… deeply and completely.

Guys, this book makes you realize that yes, LOVE does transcend time and space. It knows no boundaries. It is limitless, timeless, and will stop for nothing.

Meet Matthew and Katherine, two lovely people in love, who have found each other multiple times in their different lives. They were once a servant and a noble lady, a journalist and an assistant, two scientists who uncovered a deadly biological weapon, and two chemistry students who have stumbled upon the lives of their ancestors and are finding out what they mean and what they are called to do with the information they unearthed. And every time they meet, they would find themselves gravitating and falling for one another, as if their souls recognized each other from their lives before, as if destiny found ways for them to be in each other’s arms again. And every time, it would be a heart-warming and heart-wrenching experience, for the characters and the readers who’ve become involved in their romance and plight.

You’re probably wondering – four different stories, four different Matthews and Katherines, same souls?! And the book somehow successfully pulled that off? Incredibly, yes – I don’t know if it’s the amazing way Lauren divided the scenes and the pacing, or if it’s the beautiful and poignant writing, but the four different Matthews and Katherines made me fall in love with them each time. I never felt lost. I never felt confused or out of the loop, even when the chapters kept on jumping from one period to another. This book is really just so spectacularly well-written, evoking strong emotions from me as our couple continuously encountered trials and tribulations.

When wealthy lady Katherine and carriage dude Matthew fell in love with one another at the face of a possible Scottish invasion? My heart ached for them.

When orphan Katy and ambitious journalist Matthew fell in love with one another while reporting at the front lines during an English vs Russian war? My heart swooned and hurt for them.

When married scientists Katherine and Matthew died while trying to unearth a deadly biological weapon in the making? My heart died with them.

When chemistry students Katherine and Matthew fell in love with each other as they try to clear their relatives’ name? My heart soared with them.

If you’re a lover of romance, this narrative will let you see once more that love, the most universal truth out there, cannot be chained by anything, not even time, not even space. It is all-encompassing. Realizing this was what made this book so beautiful and special to me, made me believe that love is powerful force to reckon with. And it’s not just this theme that makes this special, but Katherine and Matthew’s personalities, too, make it so easy to root for them. They are one of those couples that you can’t help but fervently wish they find their happily ever after because they’re perfect for each other and you know that they deserve it.

Heart-warming, bittersweet, and somehow painful, this is a love story that you cannot and should not miss. As Aentee said, if you loved the Time Traveler’s Wife, then you would no doubt enjoy this book, too.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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11 Responses to “Review: The Next Together by Lauren James”

  1. Sarah @ The Reading Petal

    I’m so happy I clicked on this review. I was mostly intrigued by the cover. You’ve sold me with the mention of time travel. I love any romance stories involving topics such as this. I read a book recently that reminds me of something similar, and I’ve been wanting to find others that incorporate the same love across all obstacles thing. Great review!

  2. Stephanie

    I love the idea of this book. I was sold on the cover alone, but then your review really made me want this book now. One question: what exactly makes this YA? It seems very adulty.

  3. Hannah

    This sounds epic, in all senses of the word! While time-travel is not an element I usually enjoy, I think I can and should overlook it in this case!

  4. Katherine

    Aw, I’m so happy you loved this! It’s been on my TBR for a while and I’ve talked to Lauren James some, and she’s so sweet. I was really sad that it’s not being published in the US because of the publisher closing this year, but I hope it is able to come along soon here. I’m so excited.

  5. Marisabel

    OMG. OMG. OMG. I. Love. You!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! This is the kind of book I keep looking for! I love the whole reincarnation, time travel theme. I love these kind of stories and it is very hard to find good ones. 🙂 I am looking for this book asap! *waves and run*

  6. Tanya

    I am *so* excited for this one! I really enjoy a time travel element that’s done well and I *really* enjoy a good love story so this sounds so perfect for me. I’ll definitely be picking this one up.