The Next Together by Lauren James
Publishing Date: September 2015
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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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.
Time travel is one of those genres that I don't really steer towards. I don't know what it is, there's just something about it that doesn't really appeal to me. I'm not big on historical fiction either... On paper, I wasn't destined to like this book but I kept hearing about it and eventually picked it up. I am so glad that I did as it was such a wonderful and charming read.
The Next Together follows Matthew and Katherine as they meet, fall in love and become tragically separated all over again in different centuries. I found them both to be so likable and despite the fact we see them in different time periods, they are still so much the same great people that we can't help but fall in love with in each time. I loved witnessing everything from their forbidden love during the Crimean War to their married life in 2019. Their romance is different every time, due to the customs of the time they are living in, but you really get a sense that these are two people who completely belong together.
Different periods of time that seamlessly flow
One of the things I was worried about, and I guess one of the reasons I'm not normally drawn to time travel, is that things would be confusing due to all the different time periods. This wasn't the case at all though and despite the fact time jumps around, each one has its own distinct voice and there's no confusion. It was really seamless and I also liked that time generally flows at the same pace in each period.
Great writing and style
I thought the writing was great and the inclusion of newspaper articles, notes between husband and wife, diary entries and documents was a really nice touch. It added to the element of travelling through time and the unravelling of a mystery. The only small downside I have is the ending which is a little bit ambiguous and feels slightly rushed.
Overall, this is a fantastic blend of romance, contemporary, historical and science fiction. If you're normally unsure about time travel, like me, then I would definitely give this one a go as it might surprise you.