Review Detail

3.8 3
Young Adult Fiction 7658
Profilers beware.
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I was actually quite surprised by how much I enjoyed The Naturals. In the world of YA, it is not too often that I get to read a straight-laced mystery. As a big fan of Criminal Minds, I was really interested to see how Jennifer Lynn Barnes would take on the world of profilers. Cassie's abilities are natural, but were honed from years of reading crowds as her mother preformed as a "psychic". When she joins The Naturals - a secret program run by the FBI in order to train teenagers with special gifts - she is finally able to put those talents to use. The story reads very much like an intense episode of Criminal Minds and Barnes does not shy away from the more graphic aspects. The narration includes interludes spoken from the mind of the serial killer that the team is chasing. These sections provide terrifying insight into the thoughts of a killer (a world that Cassie is trying to discover) and add a sense of urgency to the plot.

Since I read a great deal of YA, it is often all too easy to forsee where a plot is going. In The Naturals, however, I was actually surprised by a few of the plot twists which is certainly a refreshing change. It is also nice to see a solid mystery that doesn't rely on supernatural abilities. I will say that there are some aspects that were a little too easy and had to be taken with a grain of salt - such as ability of an untrained teenager to outsmart seasoned FBI profilers. The novel is also rather dark and there are some particularly gruesome descriptions that may be disturbing for some readers.

I found Cassie to be a little boring. Other than her abilities and being witness to her mother's murder, she is not particularly interesting. But, I did enjoy many of the other characters. Sloane, for one, was cute and quirky. She often had lines that made me smile or laugh "'This encryption is pathetic,' Sloane said. 'It's like they want me to hack their files.'" She also had a handy penchant for stealing and a less than healthy obsession with blowing things up. Lia, the human lie detector, was also a great character. She was a bit of a character chameleon and, from page to page, I was never sure which Lia I was going to get.

I will certainly be reading the next installment in this new series, but I would be even more excited if I were to learn that it would feature Sloane or Lia as main character, rather than Cassie.
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