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[ARC Review] The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals
(The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
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.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Disney Hyperion for the review copy! This doesn’t affect my opinions or review in any ways. 

 

Review

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! :’(

Note: The quote is taken from eARC edition so no guarantee that it won’t be altered or removed from the finished copy.

14 Comments

    I’ve seen so many amazing reviews for this book!!! I think it could be quite interesting. I hate it when the first few chapters are hard to get into though…it’s a little annoying because otherwise readers don’t give it a chance. Sucks the love-triangle sort of ruined it, though I’m glad the romance isn’t a major part of the story. Sometimes I think it’s good for the romance to be subtle. I really want to read this as I always love a good murder mystery occasionally.

    1. Yes! I love crime and mystery books too! The first few chapters are a bit confusing but I do hope that people will continue reading it and discover the greaness of this book 😀 heh, I dislike the love triangle too, but luckily it isn’t a major part of the story sooo…I guess it’s a bit okay 🙂 I hope you’ll love itas much as I did, Francoise!! :3

  1. The Naturals keeps popping up. I hadn’t read its plot before now, but color me intrigued! I love novels with a crime element, and it has been sometime since I read a true mystery. I will be wary of the love triangle you mentioned, but I hope that I love the characters as much as you did.

    I am glad that you liked The Naturals better than you hoped. I will add this one to my TBR pile!

    1. I hope you’ll love it as much as I did! <3 The love triangle can be off-putting but the characters, the plot and the mystery are perfection!!

  2. Yay – I have this book up next to read, so it’s super encouraging to hear that this was one of the best mystery novels you’ve ever read! I haven’t seen any early reviews so far, so I didn’t know what to expect, but now I can say for certain that my expectations have just been increased by quite a bit. Mwahahahaha.

    Oof. Okay, a bit worried about that rocky start, because you know me. I mean, it’s great that Jennifer is getting into character and really pumping out those descriptions, but it’s still best to keep things at a minimum and find OTHER ways to portray Cassie as a Natural. I really hope the descriptions don’t become too boring, otherwise it’d be incredibly disappointing! But – what the hey, after page 50 I’ll probably get the ride of my life. I’m sure I can last for fifty pages. I MUST. *gnaws on fingernails*

    And wow, I find it intriguing how you were able to like Cassie despite not connecting with her at all. I don’t come across these kinds of characters very often (I don’t think I have, actually), so it might be a pretty refreshing experience. After all, not everyone is normal and so easily relatable to, unlike what authors would like us to believe. 😛 And yay for non-whiny protagonists! Seriously, if I come across another one of those idiots, I’m going to go to bed, dream up a brutal murder scene for them. The dream will end with their heads on pikes, displayed for the whole of the book community to see. Yes, I am that serious. And apparently a little deranged as well.

    But boo for that love triangle! It’s a relief that it doesn’t dominate the whole plot, but still. I agree, sometimes it’s nice for books to care about something else other than the romance, no matter how small a part it may be in the story! Who knew someone as boring and observant as Cassie would end up with two potential boyfriends, huh? 😉

    Anyway, I still have high hopes for this. It really sounds like a fun read, despite the flaws in the romance and the rocky beginning, so I’m gearing up for a twisty ride of unexpected happenings. Lovely review as always, Kezia!

    1. MEG I LOVE YOUR COMMENT ESSAY <3

      Yes! I have faith in you!! You can last for 50 pages!! 😀 I got used to the descriptions overtime. Hope you’ll enjoy this, Meg 🙂 The reason I cannot connect with Cassie is well, I don’t have her ability. But she’s a definitely reliable narrator! Not whiny at all, in my opinion. Plus, even though there’s the evil love triangle, Cassie doesn’t just melt or think about the love interests every single freaking time. There’s no insta-love either so yay!!

  3. I’m really curious about this one except the fact that there’s a love triangle and lordy I hate them so much esp. if they’re out of the blue and just completely irrelevant and pooop. So glad that this one got better the more you read! I love unpredictable mysteries, it just makes me keep on flippin’ the pages.

    Wonderful review, Kezia! <33

    1. Hahah love triangle has become a pet peeve for most of us, hasn’t it?? XD I really hope you’ll enjoy reading this book, Melanie! Unpredictable mysteries ROCK!<3

  4. I really enjoyed this one! I wasn’t that much of a fan of the romance either, but I loved the mystery aspect. I never guessed the outcome. Great review 🙂

    1. Agree with you! I never guessed the real killer either. I’m sooooo glad you loved it as well! <3

  5. This looks so good! ME WANT!

    I’m especially loving the fact that the love triangle stays more or less out of the limelight! I hate books that have such an amazing, unique plotline but are overshadowed by a dominating romance or love triangle – it really takes away from the overall book! I do have to admit that I love a good love triangle though. If it’s well-done, that is! Despite it usually being frustrating, I just love being able to say I’m Team (insert my favoured love interest here) and backing them up all the way through a book/series. I’ve even read a book where I went between the two boys involved – which rarely ever happens! Kind of shows how well-developed the author has made the two love interests. However, if it’s not well-done, I’m sure to hate it!

    The plotline in itself sounds quite unique and fun! I loooooove a good mystery if it’s well-developed and wrapped up! Have you realised I’ve said well-developed and well-done and stuff so much in this comment, haha?! I SERIOUSLY JUST LOVE WELL-DEVELOPED STORIES! xD

    Great review! 😀

    1. YES! This was awesome, Rachel! I don’t like it when the romance takes over the main plot. Well I don’t mind if it’s a contemporary but if it’s another genre like sci-fi or dystopia or mystery…then that’s another story xD

      And the plot was definitely fantastic for me! It kept me guessing and wondering and I was basically flipping the pages. 😀 I hope you’ll love this Rachel! <3

  6. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve been seeing a lot of hype around this one recently and it’s definitely piqued my interest. I’ve heard some lukewarm things about the love triangle as well, so that makes me a little wary, but my dislike of love triangles has never stopped me from reading a book. I can’t wait to pick this one up for myself and see what I think. Great review, Kezia! 🙂

    1. YAYYY!! The love triangle isn’t too dominant I’m so glad you still give this book a chance! 🙂

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