Monday, June 16, 2014

REVIEW: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)
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.

Cassie has the gift of reading people. She can look at a person and be able to tell who they are, the kind of life the live, and what they may possibly do next. When she catches the attention of an FBI group, she's asked to join. The group of Naturals, filled with other teenagers with natural gifts similar to Cassie's (one just like hers, another good with emotions, and the last good with statistics and numbers), are meant to solve cold cases. But when a current case, homicides targeting women with red hair and/or "psychic" abilities,  may be related to her mother's murder, which was never solved, the situation gets even more serious.

I really enjoyed reading this book, which surprised me since I wasn't actually planning on reading this book in the first place. I was actually invested in the story and breezed quickly through the book. But, I've read books like this before. There are a lot of mystery books that have either the same or very similar story line as The Naturals (the first one that comes to mind is The Body Finder series). And while I did enjoy reading this book, I can't give it a higher rating due to how the plot of the book is so common and the fact that there was a few things that were very predictable. <highlight to view spoiler> In every single mystery book I've read, involving killers, the killer ALWAYS comes after the main character! Always! Always! Always! So, I predicted that at some point, the killer would go after Cassie in some way, which did happen. This disappointed me since I hate it when books are predictable, but there was some redemption (which I'll talk about later)<end of spoiler>

I also have to say a few things on the romance.
You tried, romance, but you failed.
The romance of this book basically an attempt at romance, and you could tell that there was supposed to be romance, but we didn't get any romance. Sure, there was some strange kissing scenes, but there was no hint of any feelings from Cassie for either of the boys (yes, there's two, but I would not consider it a love triangle. Mostly since I don't even consider it as romance.). I also had no idea what the two guys were feeling, so the entire romance was basically a few awkward-ish kisses. That's all.
I'm glad that this book did not go the route of plot taking the back seat, while romance takes the front, but I also don't particularly like it when romance is thrown into a book for seemingly no reason. Maybe there's  more to it in the next book? I don't know, but it's possible.

I know it seems that I was not a fan of this book, based on the fact that all I'm doing is complaining, but I actually did enjoy reading this book. While the romance was kind of stupid, it was only a very small part of the book. And the fact that the plot of this book is a common one did not mean that I didn't like it. There is a reason as to why I have read enough of these books that I recognize how common the plot is.
I mentioned earlier that the book was a bit predictable, and yes, that's true, but only in some ways. As with most mystery books, there is something that is, well, a mystery. In this book the mystery surround the serial killer. I had no idea who the killer was. None. When the killer was revealed I was taken completely by surprise! And I loved this! This was not a case of "oh, the killer is actually this person", but there are absolutely no clues or hints that would lead up to that person. No, there were many hints throughout the book, very subtle ones that are not obvious until you know who the killer is. Looking back, I could the genius in this and, of course, I loved the fact that the book took me by surprise.

This is a very quick read, barely 300 pages, and the story is when that you can quickly breeze through. It's a bit of a common serial killer mystery, which I have seen many times before, but while predictable at times, the book will take you by surprise. The "romance" is kind of unnecessary. In fact, I hesitate to call it a romance.
But, all in all. I did like this book. It was very entertaining and I definitely plan on reading the next book in the series!

I hereby give this book
3.5 Wheels!
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing.

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