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.
Except for the fact the main subjects are all gifted, or naturally talented teenagers, "The Naturals" has a similar feel to "Criminal Minds" or even the long cancelled "Cold Case" which aired from 2003 thru 2010. The Five main characters are protagonist Cassie Hobbes, Michael Townsend, Dean Redding, Lia, and Sloane.
Cassie continues to relive the most horrid moment of her life; the presumed death of her mother Lorelai five years ago. How can you not when your whole world is torn to shreds? Cassie hasn't stopped trying to get to the bottom of what actually happened to her mother, and who is responsible for her disappearance. Cassie has a natural aptitude for being able to read the tiniest details of a person's life. The fact that she has this ability, makes her a desired choice as an profiler working for the FBI.
When offered a spot on a classified Naturals program, Cassie finds herself moving to D.C. where she meets up with the rest of the rag tag team led by Special Agent Tanner Briggs, and his partner Lacey Locke. Cassie isn't alone as being a profiler. Dean Redding has been involved in profiling serial killers for a long time. In fact, he is probably the most interesting character outside of Cassie because of his own horrible family revelation.
I will say that I am disappointed in JLB for once again tossing in a love triangle into the middle of a thriller/mystery that had so much potential. I won't make a choice for Cassie after one book. I don't like Michael who has the ability to read emotions, and has no idea what it means to leave a person alone. Perhaps that alone is the reason I lean towards Dean even though he clearly has issues he needs resolved. I do think Dean and Cassie have a connection that nobody else can understand. Perhaps it's a good thing, perhaps it's a hurdle that needs to be knocked down. We shall see.
As for Lia and Sloane, there isn't a whole lot to say about either one of these characters. Lia is a thief, a lie detector, and one who doesn't understand the term personal space. Sloane is the science geek of the gang with her ability to quantify variables. Sloane definitely reminds me a bit of Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds.
I won't waste your time or effort by spoiling who the villain of this story is. I found this person to be pretty forthwith in telling Cassie exactly what they were doing. Perhaps it was because Cassie is a novice, but anyone else SHOULD have picked up on THIS person's clues before things got out of hand.
I do think that The Naturals is a well researched story with a very well thought out way to get the villains POV out to the readers so that you can get hints and clues as to who this person actually is. I see in her notes that JLB actually spoke to someone with the know-it-all in the FBI to make the story sound convincing, and not contrived. I do have the second novel on my Kindle that just released this month. I will be reading that story next!
Author - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Title - The Naturals (The Naturals # 1)
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Released - November 5, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Format: Kindle, 320 pages