Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Naturals Review
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.
What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.
Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.
Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.
4 out of 5 stars
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The Naturals is being called "The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars." I never got a Pretty Little Liars feel, despite the 'person whose death comes back to haunt us' aspect. It's a little like The Mentalist, but I'd really say it's more like Criminal Minds. Throughout the book, we get chapters from the killer's point of view as the crimes are being committed... but, unlike Criminal Minds, we don't know who the killer is until the end. It also reminded me of the Dark Visions trilogy by LJ Smith- specifically the idea of a group of kids with special abilities being housed together and some of the dynamics between them.
We have another pretty girl who thinks she's not in Cassie. She even tells us that she has all her mother's features and her mother was beautiful but somehow she's not. It's one of those things that is forever happening in YA books and it annoys me to no end. I'd rather read a character that admits she looks good and are not at all surprised that two guys fall all over themselves at the sight of her. Those kind of characters, though, get stuck in the bitchy secondary role. The Naturals does have that character, Lia, along with the socially awkward girl Sloan.
And then there are the guys, Michael and Dean. Michael is the charming one. Dean is the brooding one. Both of them are, for some reason, instantly into Cassie. Any potential romance between either guy seemed secondary, though, and neither personality was really more than a stereotype.
While the characters are somewhat lacking, I still really liked The Naturals. I'm a big fan of procedurals, especially Criminal Minds. There was plenty of murder, profiling, and crime scene analysis going on. I also didn't immediately know who the killer was, which is a rare thing lately. I spent most of the book waffling on who I thought it was and never really settled on anyone before the reveal.
I'd recommend The Naturals to people that like procedurals but aren't looking for amazing character development. Because it was a teen book, there are some angsty back-stories and feelings, but it really was more about figuring out the killer. I am definitely looking forward to the next book.