I’m not going to lie, this was a bit of an impulse pick for me.
The Next Together has been sat on my shelf for months now. Usually, I have a vague idea of what book I want to read next, but like I said before, I impulsively picked this one up after finishing To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.
I’m quite glad I did though, because I’ve been meaning to read it for a very, very long time. It almost feels like…a lifetime. Get it? You know…’cause it’s a book about reincarnation?
Wow I’m sad.
Anyway, moving on…
Let’s talk about The Next Together!
Title: The Next Together
Author: Lauren James
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi
Series Status: The 1st book in The Next Together duology
Number of Pages: 356
(Found on back cover, see another version on Goodreads)
PS. I chose to leave this really short vague version rather than the Goodreads one because I personally think the Goodreads one gives a bit too much away. But Goodreads is linked above if you want to see the more detailed one anyway!
Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again.
Each time they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.
Maybe the next together will be different…
I WANT ANSWERS!
This book has left me in a weird balancing act between enjoyment and awe for all the stories told within this one book, but also pure frustration because I STILL want answers.
As you can probably tell, right now the balancing is leaning more towards the latter.
But we’ll come back to that later.
So. This book. This is definitely one of those books because it’s somehow all the contradicting genres at the same time. It’s historical fiction and contemporary…and also SciFi. Somehow. It all makes sense when you read it. Because basically there’s different time periods, starting from 1745 and leading right the way up to 2043, with all these stories from many different centuries linking up to create this huge timeline. And just in case you get confused at all while reading – don’t worry. There’s a timeline along the top of the page with a tiny little pointer to remind you just where in time you are.
And that’s the first thing that drew me in. I love historical fiction, so that was a huge thumbs up from me straight away. And then it being mixed with the idea of reincarnation? Well, that definitely caught my attention. I’ve not read many books about reincarnation, but they do intrigue me. I just can’t imagine what it’d be like to remember living another life.
Apparently, it’s very confusing.
That, I don’t doubt in the slightest.
As for the second thing that drew me in – the formatting! As I say in every single review of every single book that has some sort of different formatting, I LOVE IT when there’s different formats of writing, to jazz the reading experience up a bit. I think the main thing that kept me turning the pages of this book was wondering what I’d get to read next. Was it a note stuck on a fridge? Would it be a google search? Or an email? What about a letter?
And all these little snippets seemed to be building up to something. And THAT, was my main determination for finishing this book. I’ll try to explain.
There was the story. But then there also seemed to be little hints of something more. Small comments dotted around every so often, hinting that the story you’re reading is…not quite as it seems. There’s the story, and then something else much bigger looming just out of sight. And I wanted to know what.
There was so much mystery and intrigue. The book would jump around from one time period to another, and you never quite know when or where something important will happen. You never know when another piece of the puzzle will click into place. It really does keep you on your toes, happy to jump from page to page in search for an answer.
Of course, it helps that Katherine and Matthew – the main characters – are so fun to read about. Both of them are witty, humorous, and obviously they just have that connection where they seem to bounce off each other, where they make each other better. It was quite odd though because by the end of the book, I still didn’t feel like I knew them that well. Despite reading an entire book about their lives. But I suppose the entire plot was focused on the lives they had before the “modern day” one, and with that many stories to cram into one book, in depth get-to-know-me sessions will have to be on hold.
Towards the end, things did become a bit more difficult to follow with all the time frames coming to link together in the story, but it took a turn I didn’t expect. Plus I do like a good complicated story, to see how all the connections link up and suddenly feel like “YES that makes sense!” I do admit though that I couldn’t keep track of how much time was passing during the “present day” of the story, with the dipping in and out of history so often.
I was all ready and prepared to give this book a 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed the stories, and seeing how they all linked together.
And then the end happened.
And I had to dock half a star from the rating.
The ending disappointed me a bit. For one, it all seemed a bit rushed. But that I could deal with. What bugged me was the fact that absolutely none of my most burning questions were answered. If anything, I was left with more! I even read back the last few pages again to make sure I hadn’t missed something. But no. And I went into a slight sulk, not going to lie.
It’s a damn good job there’s another book after this, because I want some answers.
So this book is full of mystery, witty humour and curiosity. It’s like nothing I’ve read before. It’s original and definitely interesting to read…I just wish at least a few of my burning questions had been answered in this first book, rather than having to wait for the second.
Rated 3.5/5 stars!
[Available in Paperback and Kindle Edition]
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Who’s your favourite character?
Are you excited for the second book – The Last Beginning?
If you haven’t read this book, do you plan to?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…