Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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. (Summary from

Growing up I was a big fan of mystery stories. I watched Ghostwriter, The Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery stories, Wishbone, Murder She Wrote...later on JAG, CSI, X-Files, etc. I read Nancy Drew, Mary Downing Hahn, Harriet the Spy. You get the idea. I walked around with a notebook trying to solve mysteries that didn't exist and pretending my name was Sasha.

Once in a while I find a book (or movie or TV show) that puts me back into that mindset and makes me want to be a detective again, solving mysteries wherever I go. The Naturals is one of those books. Cassie seems to be a normal teenager, waitressing to make some extra money, observing patrons as they come in the cafe, but you start to realize that she's much more than that. She's a natural profiler, and she's good - so good in fact that the FBI want her to use her abilities to help solve murders.

The story is fun, suspenseful, and intriguing, keeping you guessing again and again. My favorite kind of book is one that I don't figure out the twist before they give the answers away, and this one pulled it off! You should also pick up #2 Killer Instinct and #3 All In. Book #4 is soon to come, though the release date is pending. I can't wait! In the meantime, I'll be re-watching Veronica Mars again to quell my detective urges.

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