Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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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 a unpredictable twist.  What worries me is the love triangle involved here; 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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