The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Banes


First off, HUGE thanks to Niki over @ The Obsessive Bookseller for sending me this book! She loved it so much, when she got the chance to meet the lovely Jennifer Lynn Barnes, she had her sign a hardcover to give away! Yay for winning things! Especially things that are this good.

Seriously, this was that good.

Here is the blurb 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.

There is a review quote on the front cover from Ally Carter. It says, “The Naturals is Criminal Minds for the YA world, and I loved every page.”

If I had to describe what I thought about this novel in one sentence, I would agree with Ally Carter word for word. You know when they have Criminal Minds marathon’s on and you just binge watch it, and then try to go to bed, and have already freaked yourself out so bad you have to get back up and watch a cartoon or read a Harry Potter book to be able to go to sleep? No? That’s just me?……awkward.

Anyway- The Naturals will give you that same kind of thrill. It’s not too long, I read it in a little under a day. Basically because I literally couldn’t put it down.

It’s been a minute since I have read any kind of suspense/crime novel. I burned myself out with Mary Higgins Clark in high school. I went through a bit of a phase and read every one I could get my hands on. The problem with that though is that all of the stories start to look a bit the same, and you can guess the ending quite easily.

The Naturals is nothing like that. It is a perfect mix of suspense and character development. The whole concept of these teens being able to read each other so well, whether it be Michael with emotions, behavior like Dean and Cassie, deceit like Lia, or crime scenes like Sloane (btw- how badass is a name like Sloane for a girl? awesome!), is that the character development lays itself out perfectly. You can get to know these all of these characters in such a short amount of pages because they can know everything about someone at a glance. Being inside a narrators head that can do that is awesome. It’s like if we read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories strictly from Sherlock’s perspective.

The most terrifying thing about this novel, is that it has the tiniest bit of duel perspective. Every three or four chapters is a tiny little blurb from the killers POV. These are only ever between a half a page and a full page. Never enough to let us know anything about them that will clue us in to who they are, but just enough to keep us interested.

I really hope that this is going to be a series! Barnes has set this up to go any number of ways. She could continue the series about the program from her perspective, or could just as easily make a different book about each of the characters we meet in the program.

Fingers crossed!

Seriously guys, go read this book. Even if you have never liked the crime genre before, this one just might change your mind!


12 thoughts on “The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Banes

  1. Yay!! So glad you liked it as much as I did! And just as excited you finally got your copy, haha. I’m too squeamish for criminal minds, but am fascinated just the same. This book was a perfect answer to that craving with a lot of fun mixed in. Great review!
    Btw, Killer Instinct (book 2) comes out in November!!! 🙂


      • I have to refrain from buying books for a while though. I have so many books I have to read already. And I need to go back and visit Will and Jem and Tessa.

        And OMG you’re having a boy? That’s so awesome!!!
        Any name ideas?


      • I have so many already purchased in my TBR pile I have to get to too! I guess that is an okay problem to have though!

        Yes, its a boy! We aren’t set on a name yet. I love the name Nox, I just have to convince the hubby 🙂


      • I try and look at it like “Oh, I have so many books to read”, instead of “OMG LOOK HOW MANY BOOKS I HAVE TO GET THROUGH!” Because how awful is that feeling of looking at your bookshelf and not wanting to read any of them? That’s happened to me a bunch of times.

        Nox is cool! Are the Harry Potter connotations on purpose because that is awesome 🙂
        If I ever have kids I like the name James William…(nickname Jem).
        Nooo….I’m not obsessed!


      • Actually the Harry Potter connotations are accidental! They just influenced the Latin spelling, rather than adding a K at the beginning like most people do. I originally really liked the name Lennox, and realized we would just call him Nox… So why not just name him that?

        My Dads name is actually William 🙂 he goes by Bill though! And technically you could just say Jem is from To Kill a Mockingbird and people won’t think you are too obsessed 🙂


      • Well, then, the name just become even more awesome. Lennox is a cool name, I haven’t actually heard that one before. Sounds like you have it all sorted. Just gotta get your man on side haha.

        I do like To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus is basically the perfect father. Well, I haven’t seen Will as a father yet, so Atticus is the best father in literature so far haha.
        That is so cool! Do you ever call your dad Herondale? I totally would haha


  2. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Have Read So Far in 2014 | thebookboozer

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