Friday, November 15, 2013

Title:     The Naturals
Author:   Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating:   ★★★1/2

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I couldn't say it enough. I am so blown away by the twists around and around The Naturals. Going in, I felt like I wasn't reading a YA book geared for teenagers due to the quite detailed content, but I cannot put it down anyway, despite the onslaught of gruesome images I rather wouldn't have in my head. But it was worth it. The Naturals proved to set itself apart from the usual murder whodunit books. And I, a lover of mystery, crime, suspense books, loved every page.

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. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. 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.

At the start, I felt like I was reading a James Patterson book, and that the Naturals - Cassie, Lia, Dean, and Michael - was like Patrick Jane of The Mentalist combined. And to be sure, I was amused because I was thinking why is this book like a teenage, female version of my beloved Patrick Jane? But after a couple of chapters, I started to lose The Mentalist imagery and was sucked into The Naturals' world.

The interspersed chapters simply entitled YOU was definitely chilling. It was crazy having an insight into a killer's mind like that, and knowing how he thinks and not being able to say look out!!! I love me a good mystery story, and I am so thrilled that I wasn't able to guess the killer at all. Being able to guess the criminal, after all, takes out the excitement and just makes me bored for the ending.

I wasn't able to relate much to Cassie but I did like reading about her. I mean, really, I wouldn't wanna be in her shoes at all. Except maybe for the really cute guys part. But I was amused with her penchant for profiling people, and Michael's response to that - as being put in a box. Don't we all do that? Look at people when you're out and about, looking if they're single or gay (for guys) or happy or successful. I was amused and, while I don't think that was part of the book's intention, it made me reflect about my attitude of putting people 'in a box.'

Aside from Cassie, the other characters were equally interesting. We've already decoded, Dean, and partly Michael, so my curiosity about them has abated - for now. Adding to the fray and bringing with them a sort of comic relief is Lia and Sloane. I have a huge feeling that Lia has a really nasty background and at some point, I'm going to feel pity for her - but she would hate me for feeling that way. Oops, there I go again, thinking the characters in the books are real.

The cover of the book didn't hold much meaning for me, until I read the book. After that, it makes oh-so-perfect sense and I feel that it's apt. Cool.

The Naturals had several heart-stopping scenes, from the electrifying kisses, the oh-my-god-Michael-no moments, to the confrontation. And I was glad to be on for the ride.

And with that, I leave you with this: What happened to Agent Briggs?


  1. Great review, I have this one on my shelf to read and I'm looking forward to it. Some people loved this book because of the profiling but others didn't enjoy Cassie's personality that much as you mentioned. Still looking forward to reading it though.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Thank you, Jeann! Looking forward to reading your thoughts about The Naturals if you review it. I know we all have differing opinions! :)

    2. I loved The Naturals too! One of the few times that I'm happy that it's part of a series. I guess I don't mind as much when there are no obvious cliffhangers and the book can still stand on its own.

  2. I have been excited to read this book ever since my blogging friend sung its praises in her review, and hearing your positive thoughts entices me even further. Just the idea of the "you" chapters sends shivers down my spine. You should read Shadowlands by Kate Brian if you haven't already because it also utilizes passage from a killer's point of view, making it wonderfully creepy. The Naturals sounds like all the best crime shows in YA form, and I hope I love it as much as you did!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Emily. I'll check out Shadowlands. I like mysteries! I wasn't sure how to feel about The Naturals being a mix of several shows but it worked out well in the end. :)


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