Sunday, December 15, 2013

Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was kind of an interesting read in that I really enjoyed the parts that I liked and hated the parts that I didn’t. I figured a pros and cons list therefore would probably serve best as a review for this book. 

  • My favourite thing about The Naturals was the mystery. My suspicions about who the serial killer was turned out to be completely off base, and I was very surprised by who it turned out to be!
  • I’m not sure what this says about me, but I also loved being in the head of the serial killer.
  • I really liked that Barnes kept the characters’ abilities seemingly natural. It’s not hard to imagine an ordinary person just being intuitively great at detecting whether someone is lying, for example, by reading body language and facial expressions. As a result, The Naturals never ventured into the paranormal realm.
  • I thought the secondary characters were pretty interesting. I did like the girls more than the guys though. 
  • Unlike the secondary characters, I never connected with Cassie because she sounded so monotonous throughout the entire novel. 
  • The premise is very far-fetched. For example, I find it hard to believe that an FBI agent would come to a twelve-year-old with questions about serial killers. Also, there's no explanation provided for how the FBI finds these so-called Naturals.  
  • Not only was there a dull love triangle, but it also turned out to be completely pointless because Cassie didn’t choose anybody! 
  • The ending was a bit too open for me. I think The Naturals is a standalone, but the way it ended seems like the author has left the possibility open for a sequel. 
The Naturals was released in November 2013 by Disney-Hyperion. 

Comments About the Cover: I love the cover! I think it’s very eye-catching and unique. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Disney Book Group) for free via NetGalley.


  1. Great review! I've been torn on reading this one but connecting to the characters is a must have. If Cassie has sort of a bland voice, my interest won't be kept. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I didn't finish this one, as I couldn't fully connect with it at the start and knew there'd be a love triangle. That sort of stole any enthusiasm that I might have had. But I'm glad you liked this overall, despite finding Cassie quite monotonous. Lovely review! :(

  3. Heh. That was so supposed to be a smiley face at the end. :)

  4. The premise of this book didn't really grab me but I do love mystery stories so I might give it a shot, only with really low expectations and suspending disbelief when I do read it.

  5. I'm just now halfway through this on audio and I agree with pretty much everything you said. I like certain parts, but I also find most of it implausible, and I don't like Cassie very much. And the love triangle is driving me nuts.
    Great review!

  6. Ohhh I gave this 3.5 stars too! I also love the mystery and I felt detached from Cassie too, but I loved the secondary characters. Also a bit meh on the love triangle. I wasn't expecting it and I didn't like it much.

  7. Uh-oh, far-fetched, huh? That was my problem with the last I HUNT KILLERS book, although I loved the first one--and I really like serial killer thrillers, too. Not sure what that says about us, hah.

    I'm glad you liked this overall, despite some issues. I need to pick it up sometime.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  8. Like that you decided to do a pros and cons list. As I'm a obsessively organized person I can't walk by one without reading it;) I'm not sure about the love triangle (why does the story have to have one...), but the strong mystery elements plus serial killer are pushing me more towards the pro reading side. Will give The Naturals a try. Thanks for your review!


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