The Next Together has been praised by many of my bookish blogger friends and Lauren James is one of my Twitter buddies, so I was eager to finally read her début novel. The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my all-time favourite books. The Next Together similarly delves into the complicated, multiple lives of an unforgettable couple – although Lauren James prefers to call it reincarnation romance rather than time-travelling! – but with a dash of conspiratorial science, compelling history and inevitable coming-of-age themes, too.
Katherine and Matthew are meant to be together. Each of their reincarnations – from the past, in the Crimean War (1854) and Siege of Carlisle (1745), to the future, as a hard-working couple in their early twenties (2019) and university chemistry students (2039) – means they always find each other and unknowingly work together to make the world a better place. Tragically, they’re separated from each other every time. But maybe the next together will be the one?
I fell in love with Kate and Matt as soon as I met them. Passionate, energetic, intelligent and full of humour, they’re an absolute delight to read about. They’re a couple you really want to be together, even if you’re not sure exactly why. They’re the sort of protagonists you find yourself thinking about even once you’ve put down the book (because you have to, not because you want to). I looked forward to my morning commute, not knowing which year I’d be transported to. I’ve read very few novels that span multiple genres in such a way. Lauren James cleverly entwines each lifetime, expertly making every landscape quite different while the characters stay the same.
As a fan of young adult contemporary, 2019 and 2039 were my favourite landscapes, but each held its own. I loved the way the story is not just told traditionally, but through newspaper articles, emails, instant messenger conversations and little notes that Matt and Kate leave each other on the fridge. If I were travelling on the tube with them, they’d be sickening, quite frankly, but on paper they’re a dream.
Created out of Lauren James’ love of history and science, The Next Together is utterly charming and I can’t wait to see what she does next in the sequel, The Last Beginning.
Published: September 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!