Title: The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
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.The Naturals is nothing like I expected it to be. It doesn't hold back on the blood and violence, and, unlike other's opinions, it's certainly not paranormal. There's just a girl who's really good at understanding how another person thinks, plus four other teens who have talents of their own, living in a single house.
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 started reading this book during a train ride home. I was standing up, with little leg room and gripping a handrail, but Cassie's voice just captured me. It wasn't hard to relate to her, how she felt loved by her dad's extended family but just couldn't fit in. She hadn't known why she'd always felt different, until the FBI invited her to join their program as a Natural. Suddenly, she had a purpose, not that she didn't enter without a motive of her own.
With a serial killer on the loose, Cassie was often taken back to the worst day of her life: the day her mother went missing, leaving behind what could possibly be a bloody murder scene. But these episodes of terror didn't stop her from learning and doing what she joined the program for. Cassie was born with an extraordinary talent for profiling, but just like any other talent, it had to be honed, and watching that process was really cool and fun. And because of the author's own skill, I felt like I was there right beside her, getting inside a killer's head and trying to think just like the UNSUB.
Perhaps my only qualm about The Naturals was the love triangle. Yep, there's one. On one side was Michael, the rich boy who might as well have been a mind reader, and on the other was Dean, Cassie's fellow profiler. They both had the mysterious thing going on, but I liked Michael more because even with his own share of messed-up, he was cordial, unlike Dean who just tended to be downright rude.
I waited until our visitor was out of earshot before I turned to him. "How do you do?" I repeated incredulously.
Michael shrugged. "Sometimes," he said, "when I'm in a social pickle, I like to ask myself, WWJAD?" I raised an eyebrow, and he explained. "What Would Jane Austen Do?"Cute, right? Anyway, this triangle didn't hinder the overall creepiness of the story, and towards the end, I could perfectly understand Cassie's confusion.
The Naturals is a fairly short book, and add to that its fast-paced, shocking nature and a dynamic cast of characters and it's just unputdownable. You have no idea how happy I am that this is the first in a series, because already I want the next!
MY FAVORITE PART was the Truth or Dare game :))