Friday, October 18, 2013

[Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes]

"The Naturals"
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: #1
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Date Published: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via NetGalley) for honest review


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 Thoughts:

I kinda loved this book!  It's the kind of book that is fast paced, full of action and reads really fast.  It's also the kind of book that gives you the creeps and if you end the night on the wrong chapter, you might have some really weird dreams that night (*cough* I'm not saying any of this from experience *cough*)  I would say that this book gave me the feels, but I'm not sure that what this book made me feel is what people are talking about when they say that.  I guess I could say it gave me the creepy feels and I loved it!

Barnes pulled this one off almost perfectly.  I will say that even though I loved the ending, it also felt a bit rushed to me, but in all honesty that's the only issue I had with this novel.  Really, Barnes did her work and it shows.  I've never been one to watch Criminal Minds and the like, but I'm an avid Bones fan and this book reminded me of those serial killer episodes.  Barnes also has some tricks up her sleeve when it comes to the way she tells the story.  There is a second point of view, which doesn't get used often, but just the right amount.  I won't say anymore about it, but I'll tell you that it really made the book work and I would have missed it if it wasn't there.

I loved the characters.  These are kids who crack old cold cases.  Can you get any cooler than that?  They get into the minds of killers, they study them and at the end of the day, these aren't your average kiddos.  Cassie is a strong character.  She's haunted, she's got deep rooted things following her around from her past, but she's not one to lay down and become defeated by these things.  Point blank, she's a total badass.  A badass who can profile people like crazy.  Dean, like another Dean (Supernatural) became my favorite male role.  Seriously, the things hanging over this guy's head are heavy.  He's got big issues, but he overcomes them and tries to use them to do good.  What more can you ask for in a guy?  Michael was good fun, but he wasn't really my personal favorite, at all.  Emotion reader who likes to mess with people, what are you doing?  The other agents and teens in the house all shine pretty bright as well.  Barnes gives us a well rounded cast and I like that in a book!

It's perhaps the gory details that also made this book so enjoyable.  It's all in the little things, like the pictures hanging in the halls of the house, or the way that Barnes weaves the murder investigations into the kids daily lives.  It makes you stop and think.  But she also doesn't forget to give them room to grow and breath every once in awhile.  There is a lot of blood guys, so if that makes you squirmy, this is just a warning.  

There was a bit of a loosely developed triangle.  In the end I actually liked how Barnes used it.  It seemed like one of the more honest contemporary love triangles that I've read.  So even though it had it's eye rolling moments, I was actually pleased with the end result.  

If you love contemporary thriller/horror/mystery novels then I would highly suggest this one.  It's as sneaky as it is in your face.  It'll make you think, it'll give you the creeps and it will leave you cheering for this team of unlikely heroes!  I can't wait till more books from Barnes hit the shelves!  

Actual Rating: 4.5
  5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this now!


Tammy Sparks said...

Wow, great review! I will have to check this out for sure. I really don't like the cover at all, which is the reason (I'm afraid) that I haven't had any interest in reading this. I'm a huge Bones fan too (obviously from the name of my blog!) and serial killer stories creep me out, but in a good way:) Thanks for suggesting this book!

Jessica Chiles said...

YES! I loved this book. And I heard they are optioning it for tv, so we may get to see it come to life!

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

I'm such a Criminal Minds fan, and as a fellow Bones fan, I'm ashamed to say I didn't even think of Bones. But, now, yeah, especially with Epps and the hair M.O. I thought the ending was a bit rushed too, I would've liked a bit more of a setup with that part, but my favourite bits of this book was in the details, and I loved seeing all the bits that's familiar to me from Criminal Minds.
The second pov was definitely creepy and set the tone, but it definitely made sense after. Great review! :)

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

I'm dying to read this so I just read the first paragraph of this review (I'll come back after I've read it), so I'm so happy to hear you loved this and that it gave you the creepy feels. Yay!

Nicole said...

So I am pretty sure I am going to love this book. Even more so after reading your glowing review. I don't think I will cram this in between now and Halloween to up the creepy factor but I am definitely going to try to read it in the near future. Great review!