Bite-Sized Review #2 - The Next Together by Lauren James 🚀🔬👩🏼‍🔬

Title: The Next Together
Series: The Next Together #1
Author: Lauren James
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction
Publication: September 3rd 2015, Walker
Pages: 356 Pages, Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5/5 Cupcakes! 

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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

I have been wanting to read The Next Together forever (ha, that rhymed!). I absolutely adore science fiction novels. Throw in an epic romance and I am in. I met Lauren James at a literature event two years ago and she's such a sweet person. The fact that she studied physics and chemistry and is a successful YA author makes her quite an inspiring person. That being said, I was a little disappointed by The Next Together. 

👩🏼‍🔬 The concept - A science fiction novel that spans across four different eras, including the 18th and 19th century, present era, as well as the future. There were also different genres in The Next Together: historical fiction, dystopia, and science fiction! It could've been a hot mess but it was executed very well. I've read books that have contained a little bit of everything and it felt disjointed and muddled. This wasn't the case - the different genres and eras were written well and flowed smoothly throughout the novel.

👩🏼‍🔬 The banter - Katherine's personality was brilliant. She was witty and eccentric and I liked her sense of humour! 

👩🏼‍🔬 The format - I really liked that this book was told through prose, transcripts, internet articles, diary entries, and letters. I LOVE books with alternative formatting. The internet articles especially made the 2019 era seem very relevant. 

👩🏼‍🔬 I couldn't put it down - To put it simply, I didn't want to put this book down. It was fast-paced, compelling, and exhilarating. I was invested in the story and interested to see how everything would be resolved. It's been awhile since I've finished a book in a couple of sittings, so I really enjoyed that aspect.

👩🏼‍🔬 Characters - I think my main gripe with The Next Together is that the characters felt very one-dimensional. We have four alternate versions of the characters, yet by the end of the book, I still hadn't fully connected to either of them. I say this in every review: I need to be able to connect to the characters. Katherine at least had a witty sense of humour that was fun to read, but Matthew was just there. He didn't really have any personality. I wasn't invested in the characters and I didn't care all that much for them, which leads me onto the second thing I wasn't crazy about...

👩🏼‍🔬 The romance - Putting this point under what I didn't like is slightly tragic as The Next Together is, ultimately, a love story; however, due to not being able to connect to the characters, I didn't connect to the romance. It felt like insta-love and there was no chemistry between Katherine and Matthew. The only chemistry I really felt was between the hand-written notes between the married Katherine and Matthew. The romance was lacking something, I'm just not quite sure what.

👩🏼‍🔬 The writing - It felt very much like the author was telling and not showing. The writing also felt quite simple which could have contributed to the story feeling like it was lacking something.

Verdict: It was an exciting, entertaining novel that kept my attention the whole way through. I loved the concept and the different genres that were included, however, the bland characters and romance prevented me from loving this book as much as I was hoping to!

I give it: 3.5/5 cupcakes!