The Naturals — Book Review


The Deets

author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

released: November 5, 2013

format: e-book, hardcover, audiobook

pages: 320 pages

publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Read: August 11, 2013

Acquired: Netgalley

Book Pages: •  •  Author’s Website  

Book Type: YA, mystery, thriller

The Down-low

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. (From

Why You Should Buy It

The Naturals is everything I love about mystery television in a YA package.  Criminal Minds meets Dexter meets Veronica Mars — this book will have you on the edge of the seat until the very end.

My Thoughts

*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

I was a criminal justice/criminal psychology minor in college.  I spent classes learning about serial killers, their patterns, behaviors, and profiling.  These things were completely fascinating to me (I know, I’m weird), and continue to be so now.  This is why I’m a mystery/thriller tv fanatic: Criminal Minds, Dexter, Law & Order: SVU… You get the picture.  So when I saw the premise of this book, I knew I had to pick it up.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The idea of a 17 year old being groomed by the FBI is weird.  The fact that they don’t send these kids to school to learn is a bit far-fetched.  HOWEVER, if you can get passed this, the rest of the book is really great.

We go back and forth between the mind of a serial killer and our protagonist, 17 year old Cassie.  Cassie was taught from a young age to ‘profile’ people and when her mother died at the hands of a killer, she is sent to live with family.  Cassie never really felt like she belonged anywhere, so when she has the opportunity to be taught to hone her profiling skills by the FBI, she takes it.

The science behind profiling is really interesting to me, and the details Barnes  uses in this book are consistent with what I learned in college (albeit a very low level of training mind you!)  I think this really helped the authenticity of the book.

The story is fast-paced, well-written and will keep you guessing until the end.  Even when you think you know what is going on, Barnes manages to pull one over on you (and Cassie a time or two!)  There is a bit of a love triangle which really wasn’t completely necessary, but will probably cater to younger readers.

Speaking of younger readers — the subject matter in this book is obviously heavy.  Even though it is labeled as YA, I think older, mature teens may be the audience that can handle the book.  I wouldn’t recommend it for younger students.

I can’t wait to see where Cassie and the other Naturals go from here!




11 thoughts on “The Naturals — Book Review

  1. I’ve been unsure about this book because it sounds similar to her last one. Though I love that you compare it to Veronica Mars/Criminal Minds/Dexter, I am intrigued at how that works together, and am more interested in it now. Thanks for the review!

  2. Pingback: ARC August – Update 2 | Such A Novel Idea

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