The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

naturals

So far this is a stand alone but it could turn into a series.

2.5/5

Overview

This story is about Cassie Hobbes. Her mother was murdered 5 years ago, her father is in the military and leaves Cassie to live with her grandmother and other relatives.

One day, Cassie is approached by the FBI because she has been flagged as a natural-someone who has the natural ability to profile people.  The FBI want Cassie to help them solve cold cases.

Cassie agrees to go to DC, live in a house with other naturals, and be trained to be a profiler.  Cassie and the other four naturals, Dean, Michael, Lia, and Sloane become involved in an active serial murder investigation.

The Good News

  • It moves fast at first, that’s good.  It’s only 304 pages and that’s very good.
  • The cover is beautiful
  • This would be a good mystery novel for middle schoolers.  Especially middle schoolers who don’t read above their grade.
  • This book is a good introduction into criminal profiling.
  • Cassie was a strong character

The Bad News

  • I’ve never read a Disney Hyperion book, but if this is the norm; The Naturals will be the last DH I’ll be reading.  (Code Name Verity is on my to read list). It read like one of those TV shows on the Disney channel and not one of the good ones like Wizards of Waverly Place-that show was funny.
  • It was boring.  They all just stayed in the house.  There was a whole chapter of Truth or Dare that had nothing to do with the plot.  It’s whole purpose was to create tension between Cassie and two boys.
  • I don’t watch NCIS or Criminal Minds but I imagine that there’s a nerdy/quirky person, a smart ass, a brooding type, and a sexy guy.  If your teen watches either of those shows, then this book is perfect for them.  None of the characters were particularly deep or compelling.  Lia, the smart ass, wasn’t funny at all.  I meet funnier teens in the library everyday.  She was also supposed to be a temptress but she failed at that too.  The brooder’s personality was uneven.  I think this was supposed to create suspicion but it was too obvious for that.  There was nothing sexy about the sexy guy.
  • This book is about serial killers and there is nothing candy coated about that.  However, this book is coated in a candy shell.  Not bloody or gory.  The worst thing was the word whore and slut.  If you want to read a better book about serial killers with better characters and a much more sinister killer, read I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.  This was a kiddie version of I Hunt Killers.
  • These teens were just naturally gifted to detect liars, facial readers, and profilers?  Yeah right.
  • The word UNSUB was used so many times, I wanted to kill myself.

Overall

Considering the subject matter, this book was way too sweet.  The characters were flat and the mystery was a bit of a let down.

Book Clubs for Tweens/Teens-

Please stop reading if you don’t want to see spoilers!!!

I do this b/c I am a librarian that runs a book discussion group for 5th-7th grade. Parents of younger teens are expecting librarians to pick clean books and it is helpful to know if the book is okay for middle school.  Otherwise, I am all for Intellectual Freedom.

  • There are a couple of pecks on the lips.
  • There are a couple of sexual innuendoes.  Lia is described as wearing skimpy pajamas
  • The word whore and slut is used a couple of times
  • It is about serial killers
  • I would say this book is appropriate for 5th – 7th grade.
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