Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

YA Criminal Minds 

I have to let the gushing out first… I totally love this book.  This here is my favorite YA mystery/ thriller/ crime story of the year.  Don't worry, that surprised me too.  As you know I love a good mystery thriller- after reading a lot in that genre, and watching plenty of CSI, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, and Sherlock -I have to say that this just took me by surprise. 

The surprise wasn't just the twist at the end, it was the characters foremost.  I love how Cassie was characterized.  Cassie is a natural profiler.  She can look at a person- clothes, stance, facial expression, eye contact - and tell exactly what kind of a person he/she is.  She’s not the well rounded good girl or a heart-of-gold kind of character.  She’s a regular kid with troubles hanging on her shoulder, and plenty of attitudes going on.  She was brought up in a rather felonious environment.  Being a fake fortune teller, Cassie’s mother used her to profile people while they line up for fortune-telling.   Then one day, her mother was assumed dead; her blood was splattered around her dressing room, although her body was never found.

For some reason, the FBI knew about Cassie’s ability.  A quick turn of events landed her under an FBI program for gifted teens just like her.  All these teens are uniquely gifted with different profiling specializations.  I have to say that Barnes is pretty brave casting an ensemble like this, but I believe, too, that she knows the trick.  I like how their characters were developed to support the whole story, making it a whole mesh of interlocking contribution.  It just felt like omitting someone means leaving a hole in the story.
“And the one thing this so-called psychic won't see coming is you.”
I also love how the narration transports you into the mind of the killer, and in spite of that, the story kept me guessing until the end.  Nothing was squeamish too - crimes were laid out as any crimes should be.  The brutality of the crimes will pull in any reader. It was futile to look away.  And that’s one of the best characteristics of this book.

This is a really good start for a series –good plot, unique characters, and an unpredictable twist.  What worries me is the love triangle involved here; it seems to me that almost every YA series operates on that.  But then again, if Barnes can work that to her advantage, so be it. I just truly hope that she can keep the thrill and the pace intact in this series.  So, here I am crossing my fingers and wishing her Godspeed.

Book details: 
Title:  The Naturals
Series:  The Naturals #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published:  November 5, 2013
Genre:  YA, Mystery/ Thriller/ Crime
Source: Purchased
Rating:  ★★★★


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