Number of pages: 308
Goodreads avg. rating: 4.15/5 stars
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is described as Criminal Minds for the young adult crowd. Now, I’m not really a person that reads a lot of crime fiction, in fact I think this may be the first of its kind that I have ever read. And as it is a young adult novel it definitely is a lot lighter than most crime fiction novels but it surprised me and I ended up actually enjoying it. This is one of those books that I think would be really really popular as a movie.
If you have not heard of this book before, it revolves around this group of kids with “special abilities” but by that they don’t mean super powers. Oh, no. That’s where this is a little different from the norm. The kids in this book have skills such as a natural ability to read people, or emotions, or detect lies and because of this, the FBI offer them an opportunity to be trained in these skills in exchange for solving cold cases. That’s pretty much the basic summary. This is also the first book in a 4 book series.
My opinion on this book changed drastically at different points in my reading progress. When I first saw the book in the store, I was intrigued by the cover – I mean look at that, it’s a GIFT wrapped in POLICE TAPE.WHAT COULD IT MEAN?? – so I went ahead and read the synopsis. And then I was confused – the FBI need teenagers…? – but I just figured what the hell, so I bought it and started reading it immediately.
For me, the book started of pretty slow. Not much was happening and I believe I was 150 ish pages in when I started to wonder “WHEN IS THE COOL MYSTERY STUFF HAPPENING?” but from that point it started to pick up and there were all these plot twists and I was just entranced. I fled through it. So the only reason this book didn’t get a 4 star rating is because it started off slow.
So let’s talk about Cassie. She’s more or less the typical young adult protagonist. She’s confused about some things and I don’t really know how to put it, I just didn’t LOVE her a whole lot. My favorite character from the book is actually Sloane. I just loved that she’d randomly spurt out all these statistics and facts.
Also the “romance” felt like it was just thrown in to the mix because it had to be. There was no real gradual build up in her emotions towards Michael and vice versa so it wasn’t really believable to me. Maybe it will get better in the next books but for now I really have no interest in this unnecessary “love triangle” between Cassie, Michael and Dean. Although I suppose Michael’s feelings toward her did have a plot point towards the end?
Speaking of the end, I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. I’d forgotten that Locke even had red hair and when it was revealed that she was the killer I just took a moment to go “Wait whaaaat?” and I was entirely immersed in those pages.
My favorite part was when Cassie started to tie all the murders to her mother’s. And those short “you” chapters just gave me chills. It was honestly terrifying to be in the mind of a killer and when she was sending that gift to Cassie ugh I was freaking out.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and I will definitely be continuing with the rest of the series asap.