Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The NaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Page Count: 304
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

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I was really excited to read The Naturals, and I have to say that I was not disappointed! I thought it was a well written and engaging story with enjoyable characters and an exciting mystery. The plot had great pacing, and there were enough twists and turns to keep the story interesting and to keep me reading. There was a bit of suspense and intrigue, and I enjoyed trying to figure out where the story was headed next. I felt immediately drawn into the lives of these 5 teens who have been recruited to work cold cases for the FBI due to their 'natural' abilities. I thought the teens' differing abilities were fascinating, and I liked how they all worked together while analyzing cold cases.

I thought the protagonist, Cassie, was an okay character, but for some reason I wasn't overly impressed by her. Sloane, Lia, Michael, and Dean were the other naturals working alongside Cassie. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, but I didn't think they were all fully developed. Perhaps more fleshing out will come as the series progresses. I wasn't a huge fan of the wanna-be love triangle between Cassie, Michael, and Dean because it seemed forced and out of place considering the serious nature of their business. With that being said - I did have a preference. Dean. I was really feeling the whole dark brooding loner thing he had going on. Shallow of me, I know. But I think that a relationship between him and Cassie has the potential to be quite complex.

Overall, I thought The Naturals was pretty darn good. Despite a somewhat lack of character development and an attempted love triangle that I could have done without, I still thought this was a very entertaining read. It's a great first book in (what I hope is ) a new series, and I can't wait to find out what happens next with these characters.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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  1. I liked The Naturals, but I wasn't madly in love. I read this shortly after reading I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, and it just couldn't compare to Killers. Killers is a YA mystery, although much darker and intense. I highly recommend it. I agree about how the characters in The Naturals didn't feel fully-developed, and the whole love triangle thing was annoying. I had a preference as well - Dean all the way :)

    1. Oh yes, I had I Hunt Killers on my tbr at one time but never got around to reading it. I will have to check it out.

  2. I should be reading this one soon. The love triangle sounds a bit annoying, but it's hard to find a YA book these days without one. Sometimes when the books are action-packed the character development does seem to suffer, but since it's a series, hopefully that part will get better. Great review! ~Pam

    1. Thanks Pam. I hope you enjoy reading this one because I do think it's a great start to a series.


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