Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals

Title:  The Naturals 
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date:  November 5th 2013
Pages: 304
Genre:  YA Psycological Thriller
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio


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 was so very excited to get my hands on this book, it excited me even more to see it was on audio. I love audio books. I love books about serial killers, murders, and amateur investigators. This sounded like a perfect book for me. I did love it. I enjoyed it from first sentence to last and I can't wait to read more. The book was filled with great characters, thrilling moments, and disturbing moments. 

Cassie has an ability, she can naturally profile any person as soon as she meets them. She is what they call a natural and the FBI want her. They know that her ability can be a real asset one day so they offer her a position her their special training for natural teens. Cassie doesn't care much about helping solve crimes, except for her mother's. Her mother was murdered years ago and that day haunts Cassie. She needs to know the truth about what happened. Singing up for this special training just may get her a bit closer. So she goes. She meets other naturals. One who is a human lie detector. Another has the ability to read emotions, and one is a natural at knowing any statistics. There is even one that can profile just like herself. Fitting in is a bit of an issue. Two boys fight for her attention, one girl is jealous, and the other is just a little nuts. Getting along with all the other naturals isn't her main problem. Soon Cassie finds herself in a quite a pickle. She has nosed herself right into the path of a serial killer and now he is after her. 

This book was amazing. A true mystery thriller. I loved the twists, the red herrings, the romance, the characters, the murders. It was all just perfect to fit into a nice mystery thriller. The story really had me going. I am a huge fan of serial killer stories and the when it is done well, keeps me guessing, I am completely satisfied. This one had me guessing until the very end. The author did a wonderful job with the details to make me believe it was a particular person then had me changing my mind in the next chapter. It wasn't easy to figure out until right before it all blew up. 

The pacing was also exceptional. The book was very fast past from the very beginning but never to quick to build the characters and the back stories. Heart racing fast at the right moments and a slow build when needed. I for sure was never bored and I was never lost. 

The character building was a huge part in this book. I love great character building and I wasn't disappointed. Each character was set apart from the others, they had very distinctive personality traits and their own back story to help build their character. They were set apart so well, I could easily tell who was speaking before it was made known. I liked and disliked each one equally. Cassie was a great main character. She had her issues, she didn't trust easily and she was a bit obsessed with her mother's murder. She was really nosey and had a knack for finding trouble. She had some good qualities too. She was determined, smart, and for some reason, very likable. 

I had a bit of a harder time with the boys in the beginning. I liked them both but they really did get on my nerves at times. Michael and Dean are both very stupid boys. They are quite different but really the same. They both like Cassie and turn into the typical teenage boy around her. Entertaining more than annoying. I liked the girls in the program. Lia was just too awesome. A bit of a mean girl, very possessive over the boys, very snarky, but very real. I appreciated her part in the story and kind of really liked her. Sloane was the last teen in the program, she was just pure entertainment. She had many issues, the main one being she loved to spit out stats. Not a good thing while trying to watch television. A very awesome cast. 

There is romance but it is very teen like crushes and not "you are my world, I love you, can't live without you" romance. I liked this. I get so overloaded on insta love. This was more real. There is a love triangle but not really. Since Cassie just met both boys, she finds she is attracted to both boys, but they aren't her priority. What will happen will happen. It felt more genuine, like teen girls should be. It's far from the main plot too, so it works while it sits in the background. 

All around a very balanced and very well written book. I didn't get any paranormal feel out of the story. I think possibly the abilities the teens have may come from a paranormal background but it never really explains it. I really got more of the its just a glitch in their genes and they are very talented. Kind of like any other genius out there. If it does come with a paranormal or scientific background, if there is another book, I hope the next book explains that. 

Loved it! I really hope there is more to come. I am sure this book will remain on my reread shelf for a very long time. 


  1. This is a really great review. I loved reading it too. I couldn't find any info on whether this is going to be a series, but I DO hope this is just the beginning because it was awesome.

    1. I am not sure it will be a series.... just hoping. It seems to be a great series book.

  2. I really liked this one, too! It's one of the few YA mysteries I've read that had me guessing until close to the very end. Great review!

  3. I'm so glad to hear you loved the audio. I didn't make it to my galley, so I've been considering picking up the audiobook instead because I loved Every Other Day by this author. Great review!


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