Title: The Next Together
Author: Lauren James
Series: The Next Together, #1
Release Date: August 20th 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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When Kate meets Matt for the first time in 2039 he is assigned to her as a chemistry partner and she instantly feels a connection to him, and not because he’s cute and just her type. There is something about Matt she recognizes but later when she does some research on her new partner she finds herself uncovering something darker about her family’s history. Searching for Matt Galloway she comes across his uncle Matthew Galloway who was branded a terrorist before being killed alongside his wife Katherine Galloway.
Both the Matt and Kate from 2039 bear a striking resemblance to the Matthew and Katherine from 2019. When Katy speaks to her grandmothers she uncovers part of the truth about her long dead aunt, but 2039 and 2019 were not the only times Katy and Matt were alive and met one another.
For some reason they keep meeting throughout histories most important moments. First in 1745 when Carlisle was in the midst of defending itself against the Jacobites, where Katherine was a Lady and Matthew one of her families servants. Then in 1854 for the beginning of the Crimean War where Katy is now Kit, masquerading as the manservant of Matthew who is reporting on the front lines.
It’s 2019 and 2039 where the main story takes place, and where Kate and Matt start to uncover what really happened back in 2019 that led to the death of their family members. There is something drawing the two of them together, some force beyond their control, but the more of the truth Kate and Matt start to uncover the more they start to discover about their past lives and what they have been put on this earth to do.
Katy/Katherine is the more confident of the two. She is sharp tongued, flirty, and determined to get what she wants, but underneath all that bluster she has a strong mind and wants to do what’s right. She wants to help defend Carlisle against the Jacobite’s, she wants to make conditions better for the soldiers on the front line, and she wants to clear her aunt’s name. She seems very brave but underneath she is still scared. A lot of the things that happen to Katy throughout the years are things she has never been prepared for but things she knows she can do with Matt at her side.
Matt/Matthew is the quiet to Katy’s brashness and the bluntness to her sharp tongue. No matter what timeline they are in the two work so well together; be it defending their city, surviving a war, or just uncovering the truth. I loved the relationship between Matt and Katy. The two are always constantly drawn to one another and it was amazing seeing the obstacles they would overcome to be together but at the same time what stands in their way; be it social expectations, Katy’s secrets, or terror threats.
Although the story was told in third person it seemed to be told through Katy’s perspective more than Matt’s. It was easier to see through her mind and through her thoughts than Matt’s which made her an easier character to connect with. In each timeline there were people alongside Katy and Matt who either helped or hindered their journey. There aren’t many side characters because, above all, this story was about the two of them and their love story spanning the ages.
The only part of Matt and Katy’s story we didn’t get any insight to was their lives in 2019. We saw parts of their interaction through social media messages, blog entries, notes on the fridge and emails back and forth which gave us a great sense of their characters and their stories but I would have loved to see more of them and their story.
One of the things I loved about The Next Together was all the different settings. We saw Carlisle in the 1700’s, see the divide between Katherine and Matthew as a Lady and a servant, and see how the city defends itself against the Jacobite’s. We see the Crimean War in the 1800’s where conditions are dire and where Matthew, as the first war correspondent, is treated very differently depending on how far towards the front line they get. We see 2019 suffering in the aftermath of another war but this time between England and Europe. Both 1745 and 1854 were well written, and the twists that happen throughout were well connected and intricate. The future has the look of a dystopian one, still suffering in the aftermath of the war but slowly healing.
There are a lot of twists in this book, and parts were hard to keep up with as the story jumps from Katherine and Matthew in 1745, to Katy and Matt in 2039, then back to Kit and Matthew in 1854. It was a brilliant love story though; the only issue I had was with the ending which was very confusing and left things really open ended.
What did you think of The Next Together? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.