Monday, January 13, 2014

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes [Review]

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #1
Genre: YA Contemporary/Crime Thriller
Release: November 5, 2013
Hardcover: 304 Pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book is touted as "Criminal Minds for the YA set".  I don't watch Criminal Minds, but I've seen enough shows like it to get what angle they are going for.  And I can see why they would describe it that way. The premise is the FBI has a secret program where they recruit "Naturals" - kids who are gifted with the ability to read people in various ways - to help them solve cold cases. 

Honestly, I think novels like this work best with a suspension of disbelief.  If you try to analyze it too much then you realize what a flimsy plot it is.  It is best to let go and have fun with it. And I definitely found The Naturals fun, if a bit superficial.  Whether I found it realistic...I mean...they are 17 year olds catching serial killers, know.  I will say that while I suspected the killer was close to Cassie, I did not guess at who it was or why they were doing it.   I enjoyed Cassie's interactions with all the other kids and learning how they cope with their abilities.  I wish we had a little more character development, but since it looks like this is a first in a series I am sure we will get to know them a little better down the road.

Overall, I thought the book was interesting and fun.  I would like to see the kids actually be put to work in the subsequent novels.  But I will be back for the next book.  Also, I would love to see this made into a CW TV show.  It seems perfect for it!

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