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Author: Lauren James

Series: The Next Together (Book 1)

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary/sci-fi/historical

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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

How I got this book: Sent from publisher (thank you!!) (This has not influenced my review)

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Find on: Goodreads | Booktopia | Angus and Robertson | Book Depository

The Short Version:

This book was adorable. Matt and Kate were so cute together.

And I absolutely loved the way the story was told. What with the multiple timelines and the little notes from 2019 Katherine and Matthew.

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This is a spoiler free review.

The Long Version:

In case you couldn’t tell, I loved this book from page one. It was wonderful and funny and adorable and absolutely horrible because you knew it was going to end badly, but you didn’t want to believe it.

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This book is told in 4 viewpoints: 2 in the past, and 2 in the future. 1745, 1854, 2019 and 2039. The two main characters, Katherine/Katy/Kate and Matthew/Matt meet and fall in love in each of these times. And despite the fact that they were technically the same people each time, their voices were still unique. But the same. So, you could tell it was still them, but their circumstances changed things.

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It was amazing.

Also amazing was the fact that I cared equally about all four happenings. Often when a book follows multiple storylines, I pick a favourite storyline and end up rushing through the others in favour of the one I like, but that wasn’t the case here. I cared about every single Kate and Matt, and I was desperate to find out what happened to each of them.

And then there was the little ‘notes’ at various points, saying things like ‘request intervention’ which added a nice level of “What is going on?” which just made me love it even more.

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The only issue I have is the ending…it just felt a little rushed, considering the way the rest of the book was paced. It also felt way too opened ended, but then I discovered there was a sequel. Which solved all my problems.

Though the ending did still feel somewhat rushed.

But, ending aside, this book was fabulous, and I cannot wait for the sequel.

In Conclusion:

Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

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And now, we have a fantastic guest post from Lauren James

Four Tips on writing a YA Romance book

by Lauren James

1) Break with tradition

I’ve always been a huge fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, so when I started writing my first novel I knew I wanted some element of fluffy romance in the story. However, I’m also a huge fan of time travel adventures like Doctor Who, Outlander and The Time Traveller’s Wife, so I wasn’t prepared to just write a simple regency romance! I always try to twist expectations from the traditional outcome – if a scene looks like it’s going to go in one direction, I will take it in the opposite one. I love my twists.

2) Don’t be afraid of tropes

I love using romance tropes in new ways, so when I started writing I made a list of the guilty pleasures that I love in books, and tried to include as many as possible.

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My Original List

This included things like emotional carriage rides, secret betrayals, being forced to work together for a school project, undercover spies, in-jokes and lots more! It made the book a lot more fun to write. I hope it makes readers go oooh when they find a trope they love.

3) Know your characters

I’m really interested in the idea of Nature versus Nurture. I wanted to explore whether two people who were perfect for each other in one life would still fall in love in another – when they had been raised in different settings and had been through different life experiences. It made for a very interesting variety in how their relationships developed over time, based on their relative social statuses.

Having so many different versions of the characters really allowed me to get to know them, and understand the core of their character traits. At this point I think I know them better than I know myself!

4) Enjoy yourself!

Don’t afraid to embrace the silliness and joy of falling in love. Especially for Young Adult literature, when you’re writing about teenagers falling in love for maybe the first time, there should be a sense of delight and happiness in the characters’ interactions. Love is ridiculous and full of nonsense in-jokes and teasing banter, and capturing that will make a story much more realistic.


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Her first novel The Next Together, a YA reincarnation romance, is out now with Walker Books in the UK and Australia, and will also be published in the USA, Germany, Turkey and Brazil. The Last Beginning will be published in Autumn 2016.  Lauren is an Arts Council grant recipient.

You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or Tumblr at http://lauren-e-james.tumblr.com.


 


Monday, November 9, Genie in a Book
Tuesday, November 10, Dymocks Bookmarked
Wednesday, November 11, Nicole Has Read
Thursday, November 12, Cassie the Weird
Friday, November 13, Imaginary Misadventure
Saturday, November 14, The Book Addict

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