The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication: November 7th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Espionage
Read: September 2016
Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don’t lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved murder. Most teenagers can’t tell who you are, where you’re from and how you’re likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don’t get chosen to join The Naturals. Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilites. For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a new serial killer strikes and Cassie is drawn into a lethal game of cat and mouse, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be.
Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
I pretty much devoured this book. The plot is extremely fast paced, intense and really creepy. It’s entertaining but strange all at the same time. It deals with death, violence, criminal profiling and PTSD as well as family and just a teeny tiny bit of romance. It was really freaking good, guys.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style in this book is totally addicting, easy to read and incredibly fast paced. The sentences are short and to the point which really helps the reader feel the intensity and stress from the plot. There are so really creepy parts that kind of made me shudder but that really help bring the whole story together.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The cast of characters in this series are very… weird. I don’t want to make that sound like a bad thing because it’s definitely not, but the Naturals crew is made up of really quirky personalities who all have very specific and very unique talents. Cassie, our narrator and main character, is very vulnerable. She’s been haunted by a very hard past which makes her feel different from the family she’s surrounded with and why she jumps into the Naturals Program so readily. She’s very quiet and has an intensity to that quietness that’s unexpected. She’s really smart and clever and her Natural gift is pretty cool in my opinion. However, I don’t feel like I don’t know her well enough though not because of how she’s portrayed as a character. There are four other sort of main characters in this series, the rest of the Naturals crew. They all have very different personalities and backgrounds and quirks. I liked some more than others, but I want to know more about them. I feel that because we see the story through Cassie’s eyes we get glimpses of things about the other characters, but not really why they are there. It’s a really interesting way to get to know a cast.
This book was completely addicting and I’m sure I could’ve finished this book in one sitting if I had let myself do it.
The plot is intense. We follow Cassie, a girl who felt lost and haunted after the death of her mother until she gets recruited by the FBI to join a program that helps mold natural profilers. This book is incredibly creepy to be quite honest. I was particularly disturbed the entire time I was reading, mostly because of a specific part of the narration but also because of the content of the story. I’ve described this a few times as Criminal Minds in book form because that’s what it is. Young adults with special gifts who help the FBI with cases. It sounds pretty harmless but like the show, the reality of the cases are much deeper and creepier than you can imagine. Yet, I could not stop reading! It’s so addictive and fast paced. I read by quarters and every time I’d reach the point where I would have to stop, I had to force myself to back away from the iPod touch, distract myself with something else to then be able to move on to another book. The plot of this book just sucks you in immediately and you don’t want to stop reading until you’ve reached the end. There are a lot of twists and turns, nothing is as it seems. So many unexpected things happen and they blew me away. However, because of how fast paced the plot was, I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. There are all very different and our narrator is coming into their dynamic as a newbie, so it made the reader feel like an outsider just as she was. Slowly but surely, we get to know more about each character including Cassie, but I wanted a little more from them.
Cassie is kind of hard to understand. I don’t feel like I know her well. I know a lot about her and what she’s gone through but not the essence of her, does that make sense? She’s smart and clever and good at what she does but I think she’s emotionally stunted. She’s been through a lot and it still haunts her to this day, but I think that made it harder to get to know personally. I wanted more from her and I think that I kind of got it towards the end but I definitely felt like it was just on the surface. I loved her quiet and intense attitude, it lends well to what she does in this book. I want to see her connect more to the rest of the crew and to really immerse herself in that program because there are no other people that are like her except for them.
I want to talk briefly about the rest of the cast. Michael is the first one of the Naturals that we meet and my first through about him was that he’s putting up a front. He’s charming and funny but yeah, he definitely has a defense mechanism that I hope we get to see past in the next books. Sloane doesn’t have a huge part in this book but right off the bat, I find her to be really sweet and extremely smart. Lila annoyed me. I don’t know what it is about her, maybe it’s her confrontational attitude or how she tends to act like a know it all but dang she got on my nerves. I didn’t like how she automatically started treating Cassie and I hope it doesn’t continue like it is. And last but not least, there’s Dean. He’s just as quiet and intense as Cassie. He’s protective but standoff ish. He’s a really intriguing character and I want to get to know more about him in the next books.
Overall, I really loved this book. The plot took me away completely and sucked me into this crazy kind of situation. The writing style worked really well with the story and made it that much more exciting, that much more intense and that much more creepy. I feel like I didn’t get to know the characters as much as I wanted to in this first book but I did like the glimpses that I got and I hope they build on their group dynamic in the next books.
So that’s it for this post! I’ve been raving and gushing about this series since I read this first book and I’m super glad I finally got to put all my thoughts down. If you haven’t picked this up yet or even added it to your TBRs, you should definitely should because it’s worth it! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!