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In "The Next Together" by Lauren James teenagers Katherine and Matthew are reborn again throughout different centuries. They always find each other and they always end up falling in love.
When the Katherine of 2039 stumbles upon a news article from 2019 which shows an exact doppelgänger couple of her and her lab partner Matthew who even have their exact names, she starts investigating.
Three Love Stories .... -ish.
The story sucks you in within the first two hundred pages.
The story begins from the point of view of 2039 Katherine and I was really hoping to at least have an anchor for the story. There is no real main love story and to me, the story in 2039 feels simply poorly executed. Even though it all comes together in the end, it doesn't feel like one big love story. It feels like reading about several different couples. 2039!Matthew and Katherine hardly talk, but from one second to the next end up in bed together. I didn't feel the epicness of their love story, everything felt too forced and too constructed.
I don't like crossover novels, but for "The Next Together" the concept of a romance/historical/sci-fi story works. It feel like three separate love stories . However, I'd rather have read three stand-alone romance books than one big time travel-ish one. The novel really needs a pair of main characters, each reincarnation of the two feels like two entirely different people.
Exceptionally funny- but a little too much lingo
I feel like there is too much in-depth knowledge needed to understand what is actually going on. I'm not particularly a fan of history and I have never studied the Crimean War at school. When writing about topics like this in novels that aren't just about that, you definitely have to make sure that even the uneducated reader will understand. Or as one of my writing professors once said: "Always write for the idiot reader".
The same applies to the science talk. Whenever 2019 Katherine started talking about bacteria, I was pretty much clueless. So it's a deadly fertilizer? For bacteria? I still don't get it after at least a dozen repetitions.
Talk about lingo - I love that James decided to base the 2019 couple on tumblr humor, and I loved it even more that she decided to keep that sense of humor in Katherine's character throughout the time lines. Some dialogues are flat-out hilarious and I had to pause for a minute to catch my breath.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
I liked the overall idea and the concept and the writing is nice. It's always great to have a well-written time travel novel. It's most likely a book that I will reread in the future so I'll get all the little foreshadowing hints.
I'm definitely going to pick up the sequel when it comes out.
Cover: Walker, 2015
Cover: Walker, 2015
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Time Travel
"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..." (Source: Goodreads)