The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Disney-Hyperion | Hardcover, 308 pages
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Young Adult
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.

  • I swear I'm the only person whose read this book that actually watches Criminal Minds. I haven't written my review yet for this book. I have a friend whose going to be reading this soon so I want to get her thoughts on it too. But as one who totally understands the inspiration from CM, I LOVED this book.

  • I just got this, so I'm glad you liked it! I haven't seen Criminal Minds either, but I'm hoping that doesn't matter too much with the plot and readers. Amazing review! 🙂

  • I´ve read and loved this book and I´m of the idea that anything is possible on fiction, If I read and loved books about shifters, vampires, etc. why not to love a book like this one, this isn´t a contemporary realistic novel.
    I´m glad you enjoy it! Great review!

  • I really enjoyed this book sans love triangle! I happen to love Criminal Minds so it makes sense 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it too!!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  • But the teens have some kind of 'powers' right? That isn't very realistic. So if people think that part is realistic, then I would certainly find those types of people (teenage or not) working for the FBI as realistic. I don't find most of what I read realistic, and that's why I read it. I've really wanted to read this for awhile. I'm pretty sure I will soon though. Great review, Joy. 🙂

  • The training sounds pretty entertaining, and now that I read your review I am definitely convinced I will like this book. It sounds pretty good!

  • Awesome review Joy 😀 I'm glad you ended up enjoying this book, despite a few issues ;p Ohh. I am a very big fan of Criminal Minds. <3 Though I'm still not sure if this would be a book for me, as I might have issues with them all being teenagers.. Hmm. Maybe one day 🙂 Thank you for sharing. <3

  • I also really liked this one! I found the process of how the FBI in worked with the kids to improve their skills interesting, too. I was so surprised by the ending. Great review 🙂

  • I enjoyed this one, too. The lack of plausibility never hindered my enjoyment of it. I really liked the premise of the book and was surprised when the villain was reveled. I'm hoping that they make a sequel of this one as the story didn't feel complete. Great review!

  • I really want to read this one! I like books that explore FBI procedures and things like that. I'm glad this book isn't predictable either! Great review!
    -Marianne

  • Hah hah, yeah–I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to YA, so it takes a lot for me to cry foul on THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN in this category. I love FBI/procedural books, so this book's blurb caught my eye–I'm glad to hear it's good! I've never seen Criminal Minds either, it's kind of weird that it's based around that.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  • I completely agree with you on the issue of implausibility. I mean, we read all kinds of things, and no one complains, but for some reason, people get foam on their mouths over this. It's fiction, deal with it.
    I actually like this book a lot, except for the completely unnecessary love triangle. I thought it was fun and somewhat unpredictable, which is rare.

  • I do like murder mystery type anything. Sometimes plausibility bugs me but sometimes if done right I have no problems with it at all. I think I'd enjoy this one. 🙂

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  • Ah! This sounds great! I agree with you about people who think books should be realistic. Why would you want that? Anyway, I really want to read this one after reading this review!

  • Totally agree with you – the point of fiction isn't to be realistic! I love Jennifer Barnes and though I haven't read this one yet, I've been meaning to for a while. And now I want to read it even more, it sounds amazing 😀 I've read a series about teens training for the FBI (Fearless FBI by Francine Pascal) and I loved that one so I know I'll love this too.
    Awesome review and I hope I get to this soon!