The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The NaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published by: Disney Hyperion on November 5, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Thriller
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonGoodreads
Rating: ★★★★½

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!

Here’s what the synopsis for The Naturals says on NetGalley:

Think The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars—Jennifer Lynn-Barnes’ The Naturals is a gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.

If you cut out the part about the romance (which I’ve done), this is spot on. I normally roll my eyes when books are compared to certain movies or other books, because it rarely actually fits. Now with The Naturals, I can’t really comment on the Pretty Little Liars part since I don’t watch that show, but this book fits The Mentalist PERFECTLY!

When I first read about The Naturals I think I pictured more of a paranormal book with legitimate mind reading or crazy powers. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s not like that! This is where The Mentalist comes in. That show isn’t paranormal; it’s just about a guy who’s exceptionally good at reading people and drawing quick, accurate conclusions from his observations. That is Cassie in a nutshell. I thought that idea was SO COOL! And of course, you have the serial killer part too.

The Naturals was so cool and creepy, and it really took you into a killer’s mindset and how people like the FBI deal with them. Watching the agents train up Cassie was really interesting, even if it’s not an accurate representation of how that stuff works in real life (I have no idea if it is or not). When Cassie profiles a killer, she literally gets into his head, to the point where she understands the killer, even if just for a few moments. It creeps her out, and it creeps me out!

The Naturals kept me guessing the entire time. I have a problem with mystery books where I can’t not constantly guess the killer/ending/etc. I’m constantly analyzing, crossing people off my “might be the killer list”, etc. But with The Naturals, I could not figure it out! Towards the very, very end (like pages away from learning the truth) I did start to guess, but for most of the book I was almost 100% in the dark… and it was awesome. I’m getting a little sick of books that are so easy to figure out.

Remember how I said to cut out the romance bit? Well I’ll go over that. The Naturals didn’t have a bad romance, it just didn’t have an amazing one, which is why I wouldn’t label it as “to-die-for”. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The romance was so far from being the center of the story, it just sat on the edge of certain scenes. And while I did kind of like one of the love interests (Dean—he was a really interesting character!), the relationship didn’t really develop beyond “I might kind of like you” so it wasn’t much of a romance. And that’s perfectly fine! In fact, I think a full blown romance would have killed this story.

I loved how all of the characters were so different and dynamic. I can clearly identify all of their different personalities and tendencies, which is pretty cool. Sloane was definitely one of my favourites. She’s a statistics, patterns, and probability whiz. Her character was HILARIOUS! I feel like I’d want her to be my best friend.

“There are fourteen varieties of hugs,” she said. “This is one of them.” Sloane

The only reason I’m not giving this book a full 5 stars is because I felt like it was missing some feels. Not necessarily a heavier romance.. just.. feels. I thought The Naturals was really interesting, unique, and fun to read, it just didn’t always have me giggling with excitement or have my heart pounding with anticipation. But despite that, it was still a damn fine book!

The Verdict

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13 comments

  1. This book sounds amazing! It’s been on my TBR list for a while now and I think it’ll stay on it. I’m glad to read that the romance is not a big part of the book because romances either make me love or hate the book. Cassie’s “ability” you could say sounds awesome. It kind of reminds me of Sherlock (of BBC’s Sherlock) and it seems so interesting! Awesome review! 🙂

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