The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Disney-Hyperion | Hardcover, 308 pages
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Much of the reviews for this book have touched on it being highly implausible. It’s hard to believe that a group of teenagers could potentially be FBI agents solving cold-case crimes. I’ve encountered certain reviews for fiction that questions exactly what drugs an author was when he or she wrote the book they just read. I may, in the past, have fielded the same question. However, nowadays, I’m becoming more generous. Truthfully, this now irritates me. I found myself saying, if you want to read something realistic, then I suggest you read non-fiction. There is a reason why the book is shelved under fiction: it’s invented, manufactured, not real life. So I guess you can already tell, this reason did not deter me from enjoying this book and I refuse to question its plausibility (or the lack thereof to some).
The Naturals is a pretty impressive brand of teen fiction that features a group of teens with psychic capabilities. The female lead, a seventeen-year-old quasi orphan (deceased mother and a father in service on a tour of duty), is uncannily intuitive – which is perfect if you ever get recruited to be a profiler. The rest of the gang includes an innately perceptive son of an incarcerated serial killer, a human lie detector, a statistician, and a charismatic emotion reader.
Being the daughter of a fortune teller, Cassie has learned so much from her mother. Everything she knows about reading people she learned under the tutelage of her murdered mother. Her mother’s death is considered to be a long standing cold case – one that had become her incentive for joining The Naturals. She believed she would be able to solve it one day, and that the FBI would be able to provide her with the tools she would need. However, joining the gang is not as cool as it may initially sound.
The process by which the FBI honed these kids skills is what I found the most interesting; and what had kept me reading, to be honest. With Cassie, for one, was trained to develop her already perceptive observations of people. Although sometimes, the process of deduction was too obvious and contrived. Still, Sloane, the statistician was a wealth of quirky knowledge that had made her the most entertaining among the group.
The book was not only focused on the training potential FBI agents. A serial killer is on a killing spree – one, whose modus operandi and signature cycle back to Cassie’s mother’s murder. Eventually, the killer lured Cassie from FBI’s protection to reveal the story’s twist. Although it was something I didn’t see coming, it’d somehow felt as if I could’ve on account of the first and only suspect (at the time) was too obvious.
I’ve never seen Criminal Minds but apparently, this book was based from that show. If you’re a fan of murder-mystery thrillers in YA, The Naturals is highly recommended. It had just enough insight without it being too intellectual for the pedestrian readers like me.