Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

BHS Book Club Read: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
    by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publication Date: Nov. 5, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Physical ARC won from the publisher
Page Count: 308 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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 won this book last year in a Twitter giveaway and just never quite found the time to read it... until now! Our school has started up a book club and they are doing a different genre every month and then meet to discuss what books they read! Being a teacher I was afraid they would say it was only for students, but they were happy to let me join in the fun! This month's genre was mystery, so naturally I thought of this book! I'm not a huge mystery fan, but I really did enjoy reading The Naturals. It was very CSI for Young Adult, which definitely captured my interest!
While I enjoyed this book, I did expect a bit more action and suspense. Instead, a lot of the book revolves around our main character Cassie getting acquainted to the program and learning to hone her skills as a profiler. This was important to see, but I felt it went on a bit too long for my taste. I did love the thriller element to this one though. Barnes incorporates a very creepy 'extra' that we see throughout the book before certain chapters. It is critical to the storyline and I loved trying to figure out what it meant! The action really ramped up towards the last 1/4 of the book, and I have to say- I was NOT able to predict the end of this one!
Cassie is a bit of a loner. She is surrounded by family, but still feels out of place. When she is approached by the FBI for her ability to profile people, she jumps at the chance to leave and head for Washington. She is not the only one to have enhanced abilities though. In the program, there are 4 other teens her age who are also helping the FBI crack cold cases. Michael can read emotions and is quite good at masking his own. Cassie really struggles to get a read on him and finds herself wondering who the real Michael is. He comes across as snarky and confident, but I liked him. I especially liked what he said to her at the end of the book! Dean is another profiler like Cassie, but he is determined to keep her at arm's length. He doesn't have any interest in befriending her, but as they are both profilers, they find themselves working together quite frequently. Dean is still a bit of a mystery, but as we learn more about his past, it makes sense as to why he is the way he is. Lia and Sloane round out the group. Sloane is Cassie's roommate and is a bit socially awkward. She thinks in patterns and numbers and is very type A. Lia, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild child and likes to be the center of attention. She could really grate on my nerves at times, but I don't think she's a bad person. I was afraid she'd be a bit too mean girl for my tastes, but she wasn't that bad. 
I wish I could have gotten a bit more on Cassie. She's not a bad heroine, but I didn't really connect to her at all. I felt like we saw way more personality in Lia than anyone else and she's not who the book is focused on.
I wasn't crazy about the impending love triangle either. I honestly didn't feel Cassie had a spark with either Michael or Dean to be honest. I prefer Michael, as he actually is forthcoming in his want to date her, where Dean doesn't show any outward affection towards her. He offers her comfort and a quiet strength when she discovers some things that connect to her past. However, Michael had something going on with Lia at one point in time and it's clear she still wants him, so of course this complicates matters.
I'm huge on character development in a novel and I just felt this one was lacking in that department. I really liked the premise though, so that is what would encourage me to continue this series. I've also heard fantastic thing about the second book, Killer Instincts, so I'm definitely going to give it a try.
Next month's BHS Book Club genre is romance! YAY! This will be an easy one for me to do, because pretty much every book I read has romance in it!

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  1. OMG I AM SO JEALOUS! That book club sounds like so much fun! I wish they had one when I was in HS I would have ruled that lol. But anyway, this sounds like an interesting read although not something I would normally pick up. Glad you enjoyed overall!


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