The Next Together

the-next-together


Title: The Next Together

Author: Lauren James

Series: The Next Together, #1

Publisher: Walker

Release Date: August 20th 2015

Rating:

Three Stars

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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.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

…The Plot

The last time they were together, it was late evening and they were being followed.
“It’s happening again,” Katherine said, and immediately regretted it. Matthew didn’t reply, only squeezed her hand a little tighter. She knew what it meant. They were going to die.

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.

“I do want to prove that Katherine and Matthew are innocent. Will it be dangerous?”
Matt didn’t reply, but Kate knew the answer. This wasn’t going to end well. They stared at each other, like rabbits caught in the same headlights.

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.

…The Characters

“They blossomed in her mind in vivid stains, and she remembered everything—and Matthew was everything and she loved him and always had.”

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.

“I wanted to be a journalist when I was a kid,” Matt told her.
“Didn’t you want to be a farmer for a while too?” Tom said. “Hey, don’t you still listen to those farm—”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, so shut up, please,” Matt hissed.

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.

“I love you, and I will love you until I die and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.”

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.

…The Setting

“She didn’t know if she was crying for Matt, this Matthew, or for every Matthew she’d known and lost. All throughout history they had been doing this, finding and loving each other and then being ripped apart before they even had a chance to live. Why did Matthew always leave her alone?
Why did it always end? Why did it always even start?”

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.

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38 thoughts on “The Next Together

  1. Great review! I added this book to my wish list when I first read the blurb weeks ago but the “okay” reviews I read kept me putting it off. I love the idea but I dread the confusion and the open ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Donna! It’s still a good book, and actually after having read the second one I feel a lot of the questions I had were answered and I ended up with a much better understanding of The Next Together and the way it ended. If you do pick this book up I’d recommend going into the sequel straight away, it will help with your enjoyment of the duology.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover is fabulous, as is your review but I don’t think anyone can convince me to read a book with time travel 😀 I feel so stubborn about it… even though I have to admit it does push on the -oh, how tragically romantic- side of me… hmm… on the fence with this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked my review, and I completely agree with you about the cover, but oh it’s a shame about the time travel part. That’s actually one of my favourite sub genres!
      I get that, books or genres I’m stubborn about not reading, but if you ever decide to pick this book up I hope you enjoy it. It will definitely appeal to the tragically romantic side of you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe I’ve been reading badly written time travel novels…. I was just so detached because the two storylines in two different times didn’t really help me when I wanted to feel a connection with characters…. however, I am open to trying again and this one definitely sound like it’s worth a try… plus the tragic romantic side is like- gimme! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What ones have you read so far then? Maybe I can offer some recommendations from my list of favourites! I know what you mean but with this book I kind of saw the 2019/2039 years as the main storyline and the 1745/1854 years as the background/secondary storyline. Plus as it was all focusing on the same two characters it was easier because they were all developed in the same roundabout way. The tragic romance is quite a big part of it, especially in the past years. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The time travel books that really didn’t work for me were by Elle Strauss… Clockwise series… I just couldn’t connect with those books at all!

        Yes! tell me your favorites and I’ll be more than happy to give time travel another go! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. OK, all time favourite is the Immortal Descendants series by April White. It’s not a well known series but in terms of time travel books I’ve read it has yet to be beat. I also really enjoyed The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, simply because the method of time travel is unlike any other I’ve read before, and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken although this one does have some mixed reviews.
        Two others I enjoyed although they’re not really favourites of mine was Into the Dim by Janet B Taylor and the Red Ruby trilogy by Kerstin Gier.
        Hopefully you’ll find something you like among these books! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      5. oh thats awesome… I will definitely check your suggestions out. Immortal Descendants and The Girl from Everywhere sound good…
        I’ve noticed the Passenger making rounds among reviewers and yes, it does have mixed reviews… but… I guess I just have to try and read them, In won’t be able to know otherwise 😊
        Thank you so much for the suggestions!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I hope you find something you enjoy in that case. I haven’t read too many time travel books myself but those are my favourites. 😀
        I sometimes find even books with mixed reviews I end up really enjoying, hopefully that’ll be the case with you and Passenger but like you said you have to read it to find out.
        That’s all right. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, Beth! I’ve read this one as well and didn’t like it as much as I expected – the characters weren’t as fleshed out, and I didn’t like the insta-love aspect of their relationship. I’m VERY curious though because of the ending of why they’re brought together over and over again. Are you going to read the sequel? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Reg! I did enjoy this book but I think the fact that the ending was very confusing kind of pulled my rating down a little. I didn’t actually mind the insta-love aspect but I think that’s because I felt their relationship was developed a little in their past lives. I guess that must be my one exception to not enjoying insta-love in books, if it’s part of a reincarnation storyline. 🙂
      I actually started the sequel immediately after and enjoyed it a lot more. It answers all the questions I had from this book and actually made me appreciate the story in The Next Together a little more! 😀

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      1. I’m glad this case of insta-love turned out to be an exception for you! I find it REALLY HARD to get behind, and I don’t think there’s any book where reincarnation saves insta-love for me (yet). Perhaps it’s just a concept that I can’t really relate to. 😛

        Oooh, that makes sense! I gave The Next Together one star, haha – do you think I’d like The Last Beginning more? Would you recommend it to me? 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess there’s an exception for every rule right, you may have one you just haven’t come across in a book before. Normally I can’t stand insta-love, I guess there are just a few books where something about the characters or the story or the situation has just all come together and worked for me.
        Ohh, if you have it one star then I’m really not sure. I guess if you still have a lot of questions about the first book then give The Last Beginning a go, but if as soon as you finished the first book you put it to the back of your mind and now never want to think about it again maybe not.

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      3. Yeah, exactly. That’s probably why I keep giving insta-love books a chance – hoping one day I’ll strike that rare exception. 😛

        Ahhh, I see. I want to know, but I don’t think I want to know enough to read it. I’ll probably read spoiler reviews later. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well it’s definitely good you haven’t been put off the trope completely. That’s kind of same reason I read books with love triangles; more often than not I can’t stand them but I keep reading for those rare books I end up loving! 🙂
        Good idea, that will give you a good idea of what happens in the second book! 🙂

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      5. I can’t help myself – I just want a book to one day prove me wrong, and how am I to get there if I stop reading? Besides, a book is sometimes great even with tropes we dislike, so it’s usually not all a complete loss. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      6. In that case I hope you find one that does prove you wrong. It’s a great attitude to have with books that feature tropes you don’t enjoy. 🙂 Either way I know what you mean; there have been books where I’ve hated the love triangle but loved the story so not a total loss at all. 🙂

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  4. Interesting premise. I can’t imagine if that’s a life that is worth living. Something absolutely beautiful only to have the inevitable tragedy at the end? Definitely curious about that confusing ending you speak of. A plot twist in this loop would probably be a fair guess. Great review! 😀

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an interesting book as well. Heartbreaking at times and I agree I don’t know if it’s a life I could have lived, especially given how it does end in some cases.
      The ending for this book was confusing but after reading The Last Beginning, the second book in the duology, I have a lot more understanding of it now and more appreciation for the way the author wove the story.
      Thanks Lashaan! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I’ve seen this one around quite a few times in the past. I never knew it was a sort of reincarnation love story though. That’s interesting! I really love stories like that for some reason. It reminds me of Fallen by Lauren Kate or the Immortals series by Alyson Noël. Although both of those delve more into a supernatural aspect whereas this doesn’t seem to. I like the idea that the majority of it is set in a future dystopia like world. It sucks that the ending ended up being weak though. I hate when endings are confusing and really open like that. I might have to give this a read myself sometime in the future to see what I end up thinking. Do you plan on reading the other books in the series? Great review as always, Beth! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw it around a lot as well and that, as well as the cover, is what finally convinced me to add it to my to-read list, plus the blurb sounded like just the kind of thing I love as well! It’s kind of reincarnation with sci-fi elements added as well, and maybe slightly dystopian as well but very light. It’s really hard to pin this book down as one genre or another.
      I love reincarnation and time travel stories to, although I haven’t read past the first book of the Fallen or Immortals series. But yeah this one did take a different spin on reincarnation than the normal supernatural angle.
      The ending to this one was weak but after reading the second book in this duology I have a lot more appreciation for The Next Together. If you’re going to pick this book up I’d recommend picking up The Last Beginning immediately after, they’re two books that really need to be read together in my opinion.
      Thanks Melissa! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s neat! I’ve never read anything with reincarnation that has sci-fi elements so I like that. It definitely seems like a unique read that plays on a different aspect of the idea.
        Ah, maybe it would have been stronger if the author would have combined them into one book? That’s good to know! Whenever I do pick up the first one I’ll make sure to read the second straight after. 😊
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Its definitely a unique concept, and well written as well. The sci-fi elements are more hinted at in the first book than anything else. It’s the second where it becomes a much bigger part of the story.
        Yeah I think they both work well enough as their own stories, it just felt like there was all the build up in the first book for all the reveal in the second. Either way I’m glad I waited for The Last Beginning to be released before starting this one. I’d recommend going from the first book straight into the second. It’ll help you understand the overall story I think! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw this awhile back and I am desperate to read it! I didn’t know it was out yet.
    The three stars…is that like my three, or just an average three? Cause you know my three means it is essentially shit. If the book isn’t riddled with errors or inanely stupid, it usually gets at least three.
    I’m dying to know…well, not literally, because I don’t think there’s anyone to meet me in my next life! ::sobs::
    😭😭😭😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a good book, and I have to say after reading the second one in the duology I have a lot more appreciation for The Next Together. My three stars isn’t as low as your three stars I guess. I am planning to put a review index on my blog but basically it means I enjoyed it there were just a few too many issues for me to overlook; five stars is amazing and a new favourite book/series of mine, four stars is still pretty great but just with one or two minor issues, three stars is a good read but there were more problems than I could overlook and it pulled me out of the story a little bit, two is terrible, and one is DNF.
      Maybe you just haven’t met your person who is in all your next lives! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hah! Love that point!
        My star rating system is at the bottom of my blog, but I’m going to move it up so ppl can see it. I don’t think it’s getting any attention. I put it up a long time ago, so I might even want to make a graphic now. But my three stars means mediocre basically. Like two would be horrible and I don’t want to read it ever again and one would be, like, set fire to this book because it makes better kindling than reading material. I don’t usually have to give those two out, because I stay in my genre. It helps a lot. And I’m easily won over by a book.
        I couldn’t buy The Next Together on Amazon.com, so I used my Amazon trick of switching my address to my AUS one, and I was able to buy it for $2.74. Not bad! I’m eager to read it! What a good price for a book: it’s like the sale price for books here ($1.99) with that silly VAT tax thrown in. I can’t avoid paying that when I’m on the .uk or .au sites. Ugh, too many taxes!
        Love that you showed me this book!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Honestly I don’t normally look at rating systems. I guess I just know five stars is great and one star isn’t so much. Plus I think you can tell more from the review than the star count whether someone loved the book or not. 🙂
        I rarely give out two or one star ratings. I think since I started blogging there’s been two two star reviews but no one star ones.
        That is a handy trick, and at least you managed to get your hands on the book in the end, even if you did still have to pay the tax!
        I hope you enjoy it Stephanie! 🙂

        Like

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