ARC Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


October 7, 2013 by Alice in Readerland

The NaturalsSeventeen-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.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion and NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. The Naturals will arrive in stores November 5th, 2013.

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Lynn Barne’s The Squad series (two words: cheerleader spies), so when I heard that she was coming out with a new book that had to do with a mystery/profiling, I was so excited! This book kind of made me think of it as this:


The Mentalist meets Mean Girls (believe me, both of them use a ton of psychology). Or, you know, just think of The Mentalist lead as a teenage girl.

Jennifer has such a great talent for bringing together these really unique, really fun characters that make the story come alive. I loved all the different quirks of the cast in her The Squad series, and was so glad to see that Jennifer introduced me to a whole new group of great characters in The Naturals. First, we have our lead, Cassie, who has this amazing ability to read people, that you just can’t help but admire. Cassie pictures people as puzzles, which gives her a whole lot of pieces to put together when she meets her fellow Naturals: the lying Lia (is she telling the truth, or isn’t she?), quiet Dean who is hiding a secret of his own, the Porsche-owning Michael who keeps you guessing, and my personal favorite, Sloane, who works with numbers and probabilities and who you have to hide the coffee from. When Cassie first meets Sloane, Sloane’s exploding something, and then literally defining the word normal to Cassie before spitting out more facts as her version of “hello”. Sloane, who was picked up in Vegas, is something of a card shark, and can play Solitaire with all of the cards facedown just found herself on my Favorite Secondary Characters list.

I also enjoy Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girl series and know that Ally and Jennifer are friends, so I was delighted to see this Tweet:

There is a Michael Townsend in @jenlynnbarnes’ new series, THE NATURALS. In my mind, he’s Agent Townsend’s nephew. #facts.

— Ally Carter (@OfficiallyAlly) on Twitter December 6th, 2012

This book also contained one of my favorite book scenes of the year. When you’re a talented Natural, surrounded by other (mischievous and bored) talented Naturals, even watching TV is hard. Cassie thinks she’s in for a relaxing night of a TV when the other Naturals start analyzing the actors and spitting out facts. Cassie’s TV night is a bit of a loss, but the humor isn’t.

Cynical Cindy Says

There were a few questions that went unanswered, and I still haven’t seen any official news for a sequel or how many books they’ll be, so hopefully we’ll learn more soon!

I’d recommend this to fans of shows like The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, and Cold Case, or just to anyone looking for a darker, fascinating mystery book.

I love comments

15 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  1. I am looking forward to reading this book. I have it in my list of eARC’s waiting to review it, I haven’t ever read any of this authors books so I hope I like it. :)

  2. Michelle says:

    Oh this sounds really good! I love when teens with special abilities team up… It’s like The Justice League or something :). Cool review… I’ve seen this cover before but I thought it was an adult book. It just gives me that vibe.

    • I think this cover’s a fairly new one for the book, it used to have a girl on the cover. But I like how the present on the front ties in with the “mysterious packages” storyline in the book. :)

  3. I’m dying to read this book. I love the reference you make of Mean Girls (LOVE!!) and The Mentalist. Yay. Great review!

  4. I like the sound of the unique, fun characters. It’s great when authors are able to create such personalities! :)


  5. DoingDewey says:

    I really like the TV show Lie to Me which also sounds similar to this book. It’s such a cool premise!

  6. Nikki says:

    I am SO ridiculously excited for this book. *_* I absolutely adore Criminal Minds and The Mentalist, and putting a YA spin on that… Amazing idea. And you made me really excited for the characters – especially Sloane. From what you said, I think he’s probably going to end up as my favorite, too!

    Great review, Alice!

  7. Bella says:

    I am so happy to see the Ally Carter blurb on the cover! I love her books, and her recommendation combined with the intriguing synopsis makes me want to read this one! :)

  8. […] The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes […]

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