Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (3 stars)

The Naturals has been touted as teenage Criminal Minds. That's somewhat accurate, although in this first installment it was more classroom than crime scene. It also looks like the team may get assignments more along the lines of Cold Case, not active files, but overall, not bad.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #1
Genres: YA, Mystery, Thriller, Crime
Published on November 5, 2013
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Final Rating: 3 stars

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.

What I liked:
  • The profiling. Not all of it, but there's a reason while millions have flocked to TV crime dramas like NCIS, CSI and Criminal Minds, to name a few. The criminal mind is fascinating, as are the means by which law enforcement endeavors to catch criminals. The profiling is especially interesting to me. Every day we look at the people around us, sometimes friends and family, sometimes strangers, and we make judgments, we make assumptions, we draw conclusions based on the evidence presented and our own suppositions. I liked seeing which elements the characters focused on and the conclusions they drew.
  • The pacing and tension remained fairly consistent throughout the novel. It never dragged horribly.

What I didn't like:
  • The kind of there love triangle. It remained mostly in the background because, duh, there's a killer on the loose, but it still felt unnecessary, improbable and more than a little forced. I think/hope Lia hit the nail on the head: there's a new shiny in the house. Hopefully everyone will have it out of their systems by Book 2.
  • How conveniently certain pieces came together. I don't mind too much since it was an orchestrated convenience, but still. Slightly irked.
  • That I didn't really become attached to any of the characters. They had interesting quirks, but I was never invested in them or worried about them. I think more humor would help.

Final Thoughts:
In the sequel, someone must give Sloane Mountain Dew. Also, I want to see the housemates participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange; imagine being in a house where each person can either profile you, tell when you're lying, read your emotions or run every stat known to man.

I'm not rushing to the presses for Book 2, but this was a quick, mostly entertaining read. So long as the love triangle/romance element is toned down, I'm willing to continue the series.


  1. Hmm, 3 stars. Ahhh, it sounds like I probably won't like the romance O_O Grr, love triangle. One of my bloggy friends LOVES this book to pieces, but she never mentioned anything about a love triangle. The profiling aspect sounds good - that's intriguing. I don't read too many suspense thrillers type. I'm glad you sort of enjoyed this book! Hopefully, if you read book two, you like it more :) Awesome review, Kel!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I think the romance aspect bothered me as much as it did because the semi-triangle is so unnecessary. The book would have been fine without any romance. Moreover, It doesn't look like any of these kids have experienced healthy relationships, familial or romantic, in a long time, if ever. To see three of them considering and/or fighting a sudden like/love seemed unrealistic. Yep, definitely hoping Book 2 is more profiling, less Lifetime. Thanks for the comment! :)