|The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes|
November 5, 2013
Genre: Mature Young Adult, Paranormal Thriller
Source: eARC from publisher 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.
The Naturals is centered around Cassie, one of five "Naturals," who are being trained in some sort of FBI paranormal program. These gifted teens become involved in the hunt for a serial killer, and the danger comes a little close to home.
This is very much a plot-driven novel. If you like a whodunit mystery with a CSI flare, and are not opposed to murder and the morbidity around looking for a serial killer, then this is right up your alley. We get in-depth insight into how a killer's mind works and all the angles investigators must look into to solve crimes. The author kept me guessing the entire time who the serial killer was, how they were going to uncover said serial killer, and what the body count would be (and if it would contain any of my new gifted friends). I honestly did not figure everything out and the ending was a complete surprise. Props to the author for a job well done there. I can usually figure things out, and like that I got stumped.
There was, however, a lack in character development. I didn't feel deeply connected with the characters, and they felt a bit clinical at times. I did like that they had these unique talents and could see the promise of them working as a team. I just didn't connect with them at an emotional level I'd hoped for, even when the plot took us to very sad or horrific circumstances. Whether this was intentional by the author or not, as the characters are supposed to have some mystery about them, I don't know. But regardless, it did affect my feelings toward the characters. I'd like to get to know them better in future books.
The start of this new series is very promising. And there is no cliffhanger, just a set up for more books. So if you like a mysterious, whodunit, thriller with paranormal elements, serial killers, and prospective love interests, then this could be the one for you.