Review: The Naturals (The Naturals, #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

13597723The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Love Triangle

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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.


Who says teenagers can’t be FBI agents?

Definitely not Cassandra Hobbes, a profiler recruited by the FBI to be part of their program.

She analyzes people. She can find the slightest details about someone and use them to solve puzzles. However, the training part of the program isn’t enough for her. She wants to help find real murderers and not play repetitive games that agents believe will prepare her to become the perfect profiler.

Suddenly, an opportunity strikes.

The main problem with this story is that it’s too convenient. It’s too convenient that Cassie has a gift, that her mom was murdered and that the biggest case the FBI agents are working on has a direct link to her.

It’s just not realistic.

And I know you may think that, hey, the teenagers being agents in training thing is not realistic either, so why are you complaining about that… But the thing is EVERYTHING revolves around Cassie. Everything.

But it’s still fun. It’s fast-paced, intriguing and definitely not predictable. The revelation is very annoying, since I expected more—something more original—but it took me by surprise and that’s what counts.

The characters are reminiscent of Cammie, Macey, Liz and Zach from The Gallagher Girls series. I can bet on the fact that Jennifer Lynn Barnes read it before writing this.

Cassie is the one who puts pieces together (Cammie), Lia is the human lie detector with attitude (Macey), Sloan is the brains (Liz) and Michael is the quiet, mysterious, possibly dangerous and handsome guy (Zach). Dean, well, he’s a cute one.

Even if the plot is far-stretched and annoyingly related to Cassie, I still liked the world-building and the whole idea of a program for Naturals, who are teenagers with different abilities that can come in handy when trying to solve murder cases.

The writing is good also. The dynamics between characters will keep anyone entertained and the chapters from the murder’s point of view often gave me goose bumps.

Cassie’s narration is interesting, but the problem is she’s aware of the reader. In The Gallagher Girls, Cammie relates everything knowing someone else will read her—let’s call it—journal. But that’s because she has to. In this book, Cassie talks to herself as though she knew that someone is reading her thoughts, and that makes the story even more inauthentic.

But again, it’s not bad. I liked it. If I could, I would change many things about it, but I needed something different and I got it. Relatively.

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Naturals (The Naturals, #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  1. I’ve had this on my TBR for a while; I even went so far as to buy The Naturals in ebook when it was on sale…but I just haven’t actually opened the book yet. I probably will eventually. Hopefully I’ll like it as well, even if I don’t love it.


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