Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

About the book
The Naturals is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The book was published by Quercus on 7th November and the book is 352 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
After her mother was murdered and the crime left unsolved, Cassie Hobbes has never really felt like she belonged anywhere. Maybe that has something to do with her gift. Cassie is able to tell a lot about a person within moments of seeing them; where they’re from, how old they are and behavioural patterns etc. That’s also the reason why she’s being recruited by The Naturals; an FBI division for naturally talented teens.

Cassie believes that The Naturals could be exactly where she belongs, even if she’s having a hard time with the other girls and attempting to figure out the two hot boys who are also part of the program. When a serial killer begins to recreate Cassie’s mother’s death, she realises that she may be in more danger than she ever thought possible.

What I thought
I’m always on the look-out for something new and different in young adult books and this one sounded like just the thing I wanted to read.

The Naturals is told from a dual point of view with chapters from both Cassie and the serial killer. As the first is told through the POV of the serial killer, it makes for a very dramatic opening and one that immediately grabbed my attention. Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ writing reminded me very much of Kimberley Derting’s ‘The Body Finder’ which I loved so much. The serial killer aspect of the book is what initially made me want to carry on reading but there was so much more to it, which was great.

Protagonist Carrie has had a pretty rough time, with her mother being brutally murdered and the killer having never been found. She also has the ability of profiling; being able to tell a hell of a lot about someone after only a couple of moments. While I loved learning about what Cassie could do, I felt like she was lacking a bit in the development area. She doesn’t really seem to grow or change much over the course of the book. Another thing is that Cassie came across as really indecisive which I didn’t like about her.

Along with Cassie there are some fantastic secondary characters. We have love interests in Michael and Dean, with both boys having something tempting about them. There are also the other girls in The Naturals; one has the ability to tell a lie (and lie well herself) while the other one has a massive thing for numbers and statistics. There couldn’t have been a more interesting group of characters to learn about. Still though, I wanted to know more about each of them and I can’t wait to find out more as I read more of this series.

The plot is really what made this book a great read though. Not only do we have a teenage division of the FBI, with a group who have some insane talents, but we also have a fantastic mystery. The suspense of finding out who the serial killer was had me hooked the whole way through the book. With each snippet from them, we are able to get into their mind a little more as they begin to reveal small clues about what is going on. However, I did not figure out what was going on until it was all revealed properly.

While The Naturals has a great plot, the character development really lets this down. I still really enjoyed reading this one though.

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