October 7, 2013 by Alice in Readerland
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.
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:
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.