August 27, 2016 by Betty
Title: The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynne Barnes
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Teen/Young Adult | Mystery & Thriller
Synopsis: 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.
I literally sat down and read this in one sitting. I absolutely loved her Raised by Wolves trilogy, so this was kind of a no-brainer for me. The story is so captivating and Jennifer Lynne Barnes’ writing is so smooth and flows in a way that kept me from taking a break or finding a stopping point. I just continued plowing through until it ended.
I loved Cassie’s character. She is a very grounded, down to earth person. She is truly the type of person I can see myself meeting anywhere. She is quiet and reserved, a little shy, but friendly and makes an effort to interact with other people out of politeness. There is also Lia, Sloane, Dean and Michael. They are all normal teens (except for their Natural skills) with flaws, strong points and interests. I loved getting to know each one little by little. Cassie has the skill of “profiling”, kind of like a Sherlock Holmes on crack (or opium, har har). Following three rules of observation that her mother taught her, BPE, (Behavior, Personality, Environment) she is able to put together things she observes about the person and make a “profile” of them. She can place herself in their shoes and almost exactly predict how they would behave or react in different situations.
The main focus of this book is discovering who is the serial killer. I began suspecting a few chapters in that it was going to be someone the author had introduced. Not a really minor character, but someone that Cassie knew and had spoken to. However, all my reasoning and deductions did not point me to the right person. I was correct in certain points, such as gender and who they are ultimately after, but that was about it.
I loved how the Natural Skills they possess are not explained as superpowers or mysterious indescribable. Rather, they are presented as sharply honed talents that could easily be seen as possible in our real world. The details through out the story on the murders and cold cases Cassie reads about were very meticulously depicted as real cases so I enjoyed that forensic/murder mystery aspect. I anxiously look forward to reading the next three books in this series.