“The Naturals (The Naturals #1)” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I’ve been watching Criminal Minds lately so the fact that this book was pitched as “Criminal Minds for the YA world” really drew me in. Ultimately that comparison was pretty spot on with only a bit of weirdness. Cassie and Dean are the profilers and the rest of the team make up a good group that could potentially solve some good cases together. In some places, the book was trying too hard to be like the series so it was a bit odd. Particularly the use of UNSUB (unknown subject) was a bit jarring.
The different storylines made for a good book. Cassie being trained, the group of kids trying to deal with each other, Cassie’s obsession with her mother’s case, the case that is staring to really look like her mother’s murder… Those are all good on their own and only grow in depth being added to each other.
I liked Cassie and the others well enough. They all have their quirks but they worked well together. I’d love to see them work on other cases together. I wasn’t wild about the love triangle thing. It was out of place and a bit annoying.
The bottom line? Entertaining read!