We read The Next Together in preparation for a signing and panel Lauren James was doing alongside Alice Oseman, author of Radio Silence, and absolutely loved it! Described as a ‘reincarnation romance’, this book is sweet, action packed and always has a hint of mystery surrounding it that encourages you to keep turning the pages at the speed of light. So, without further ado, here are all the things we loved about The Next Together and why it should be the next book on your TBR list!
- Pure Romance
Sometimes, it’s hard to find a book that deals with romance in the way you want it to. It takes some digging around the YA section to find a book that isn’t coated in insta-love or unrealistic expectations of relationships. Not to mention, if I avoided all the books with a broody male protagonist, I’d only be reading three books a year. The Next Together avoids everything you don’t like about YA romances. It’s actually romantic! Katherine and Matthew love each other deeply, and the way their relationships progress in each timeline is suitable for whatever time period they’re in. They leave each other little notes, have genuine banter and make my heart sigh, no matter what the date is.
- Something For Everyone
If you’re not a fan of historical, then you’ll love the futuristic setting. If you’re not interested in contemporary cuteness, you can invest yourself in the wartime Mulan story line. The Next Together excellently masters each different genre in one book, and that must have taken some work. I’d also say there’s a nice balance of each, and the different timelines always switch at exactly the right point.
- Research Is Evident
We actually got to meet Lauren James at a book signing event she did, and when she talked about the book, she said she put a lot of time and effort into plotting, over developing her characters (who have so much voice anyway, it’s like they came to her already fully formed!) It’s really obvious that every single part of The Next Together was thought about and how it would all fit together in the end. All of the historical settings seem realistic and my special attention went to the inserted documents that had random capitalisation in the 18th century. It certainly puts Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel to shame with its historical details.
- Extra Materials!
At the top of the page is a timeline, with a little indicator to let you know where you are in history. Among the prose, there are letters and notes and screenshots of Katie’s blog, and general tidbits from the story that take the reading experience to the next level.
- Unlike Anything Else
The one thing I can say for The Next Together is that it’s 100% original and unique. I’ve never read a book like it that manages to master so many genres and be so plot driven that there’s never a dull moment. The mystery behind how the reincarnation romance works is what really intrigued me, but it’s the save-the-world, action packed elements that really kept me reading.
If you like Doctor Who, romance, or any kind of time-based genre, this is the perfect book for you! We can’t wait for the sequel (and conclusion) to come out in the fall, especially because the main characters Clove and Ella fall in love, and an larger emphasis on the LGBTQ element is the only thing that could have made the first book better!