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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The Naturals
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
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.

Review: For someone who enjoys murder mysteries and maybe once upon a time loved the show Criminal Minds (yours truly)  The Naturals is a pretty good read. Its strength lies in the fact that the author clearly has knowledge of criminal psychology. This made it easier for me to suspend my disbelief when it came to other parts of the novel: I doubt the FBI would ever allocate a budget to house and train teenagers, no matter how special their abilities. But that's a besides-the-point nitpick when the story is this entertaining. 

Cassie, our heroine, is gripped with questions about her mother's bloody disappearance years ago. She's also competent, confident, and due to her skill at reading people is uniquely suited to being a profiler. Others in her new team include Lia; a girl with a gift for weeding out lies, Sloan; a math genius, Michael; who reads emotions, and Dean; a profiler with a serial killer father (reminiscent of Jasper Dent). Supervising this merry band are two FBI agents: Lacey Locke and Tanner Briggs. Aside from Cassie, most of character's backstories are reserved for the sequels, but each person is given enough personality that I enjoyed spending time with them as they worked together. 

There is violence in the novel as one would expect, but it's not terribly graphic. As the teen characters are at a remove from the murders, so too is the reader. There is also the start of a love triangle/maybe square, but I found that this was handled in a way that felt realistic, not obnoxious. Get a group of teenagers together and it makes sense that there is going to be some flirting.  Nobody is making any promises yet, all the characters have other things going on, and there is plenty of room for development. 

As far as flaws go, I will say that I felt the story dragged a bit in the middle. There were some questions I had and things I noticed were off, and I was concerned that the story was going to veer into cliche territory. Thankfully the ending was all I hoped for and kept my opinion of the novel pretty high: it made sense, answered some questions, was suitably twisty, and resolved the main plot while still leaving some things open for the future. 

4 Mysterious Packages. 

*Copy received from Kayla Beck of Bibliophilia, Please for Secret Santa. Check out her blog!

0 comments:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynne Barnes

The Naturals
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
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.

Review: For someone who enjoys murder mysteries and maybe once upon a time loved the show Criminal Minds (yours truly)  The Naturals is a pretty good read. Its strength lies in the fact that the author clearly has knowledge of criminal psychology. This made it easier for me to suspend my disbelief when it came to other parts of the novel: I doubt the FBI would ever allocate a budget to house and train teenagers, no matter how special their abilities. But that's a besides-the-point nitpick when the story is this entertaining. 

Cassie, our heroine, is gripped with questions about her mother's bloody disappearance years ago. She's also competent, confident, and due to her skill at reading people is uniquely suited to being a profiler. Others in her new team include Lia; a girl with a gift for weeding out lies, Sloan; a math genius, Michael; who reads emotions, and Dean; a profiler with a serial killer father (reminiscent of Jasper Dent). Supervising this merry band are two FBI agents: Lacey Locke and Tanner Briggs. Aside from Cassie, most of character's backstories are reserved for the sequels, but each person is given enough personality that I enjoyed spending time with them as they worked together. 

There is violence in the novel as one would expect, but it's not terribly graphic. As the teen characters are at a remove from the murders, so too is the reader. There is also the start of a love triangle/maybe square, but I found that this was handled in a way that felt realistic, not obnoxious. Get a group of teenagers together and it makes sense that there is going to be some flirting.  Nobody is making any promises yet, all the characters have other things going on, and there is plenty of room for development. 

As far as flaws go, I will say that I felt the story dragged a bit in the middle. There were some questions I had and things I noticed were off, and I was concerned that the story was going to veer into cliche territory. Thankfully the ending was all I hoped for and kept my opinion of the novel pretty high: it made sense, answered some questions, was suitably twisty, and resolved the main plot while still leaving some things open for the future. 

4 Mysterious Packages. 

*Copy received from Kayla Beck of Bibliophilia, Please for Secret Santa. Check out her blog!

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