(The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Crime/Mystery, Paranormal
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.
After seeing a negative review for it, I was a bit hesitant, but luckily I decided to try it with an open mind and I ended up falling in love completely with this book. The Naturals was definitely one of the best mystery books I’ve ever read!
“We saw things that other people didn’t – things that people our age should never have to see.”
The first few chapters were hard to get into. Since the main character is a Natural profiler (which basically means she can figure out what kind of person someone is by paying attention to their his/her behaviors ), there are lots of detailed descriptions and the character’s thoughts about other people’s behaviors and personalities. Although a bit tedious and rather confusing at first, when I hit page 50 something, The Naturals became much more thrilling and heart-pounding. Gathering clues through their observations, solving a tough serial murder, I couldn’t put The Naturals down once I was completely engrossed with the story! The mystery was unpredictable and the plot was sooooo addictive, full of twists! THIS is how you write an awesome mystery book!
Even if I didn’t connect with the main character, I loved reading the story from her POV. Cassie has motivation and determination to uncover her mother’s mysterious death. She didn’t come across as whiny for me, not even once. On top of the likable protagonist, The Naturals also has awesome side characters like Michael, Lia, Dean and Sloane. I loved reading their interactions – they’re different from one another but these people can work together when needed! Sloane is my favorite! Her awkwardness…I could understand that haha!
The only thing that disappointed me is the love triangle. Although the romance isn’t dominant, the love triangle just seems too out-of-the-blue for me and I personally think this book would be even EVEN better without it! Not that the romance was horrible – it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t mind-blowing either. It just sounded odd to me to have a love triangle in a mystery book. However, I do really appreciate the lack of romance in this book. It isn’t dominating the main plot and occupying the MC’s thoughts the whole time. This subtle kind of romance (except the love triangle) suits the tone of the book well.
The Naturals is the kind of book that isn’t easy to figure out and will keep you awake until you reach the last page. With the lack of romance, cool concept plus unpredictable and highly addictive plot, The Naturals was a gripping mystery book that kept me turning the pages. It’s so sad that the next book won’t be out till next year! :’(