The Next Together, by Lauren James

A powerful and epic debut about fate and timelessness of first love, The Next Together is a fantastic read. Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presences changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. How many times can you lose the person you love? For Matthew and Katherine it is again and again, over and over, century after century.

The novel, told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, internet articles, ‘original’ historical documents and news reports, is fascinating and gripping. James is a scientist by day and a writer by the early hours of the morning, and you can see her love of science shining brightly through the pages. Fortunately, it isn’t too complicated for those without a scientific bone in their body.

She is also a wonderful writer. Both Matthew and Katherine are likeable and you want them to be together, even if you don’t know why. James expertly crafts new time-scapes with every reincarnation of the couple, while keeping them much the same.

While it does have echoes of The Time Traveller’s Wife, it is a step so far removed from it. It is a love story but without the added cheese. But it isn’t a romance story. It has everything; sci-fi, history, war, wit, suspense and mystery. It really is a book that transcends any definition.

As an added bonus, James’s blog has ‘extras’. You can read a Snapchat between the couple, a Harry Potter crossover, deleted scenes, scenes from the story in different genres, and even listen to a playlist that got James through drafting the story. Those extra goodies tie in perfectly with the wacky premise of the book.

The sequel, The Last Beginning, is due out in 2016 and I will be lining up for it. If you are in search of something original and clever, find this gorgeous book and devour it. You won’t be disappointed.

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TITLE: The Next Together
AUTHOR(S): Lauren James
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
RRP: $18.99
ISBN: 9781406358056

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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