The Naturals | Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Naturals | Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Book ReviewThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #1
Also in this series: This is Not a Love Letter
Also by this author: This is Not a Love Letter, You Were Here, The Inheritance Games, The Hawthorne Legacy
Published by Disney Electronic Content on November 5th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Law & Crime, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Adolescence
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. 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. Think The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars—Jennifer Lynn-Barnes' The Naturals is a gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.

I swear, this must be the year where all the young adult books of genres that I think I don’t like come out and prove me wrong. Like, I am not much of a fan of reading thriller type books, even though I will totally always watch Law & Order and Castle and those sort of shows on TV. Yet, I picked up The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and found myself really enjoying the young adult version of a thriller or a crime sort of novel.

Cassie Hobbes is working at a diner as a waitress when a boy comes in and asks her to guess what he wants. She’s always been naturally gifted at reading people, so she figures out his egg order and he leaves an FBI business card at the table for her. Cassie lives with her Italian grandmother and is becoming acquainted with her dad’s side of the family but still feels like an outsider. You see, she grew up with her mother who worked as a psychic (she wasn’t real, just good at reading people) but unfortunately, her mom ended up murdered when Cassie was 12 and it turned into a cold case.

Anyways, Cassie follows up on the business card and discovers that the FBI want to recruit her for a program called The Naturals where certain people have natural abilities that aid them in solving crimes. Nothing terribly supernatural though. Cassie is a Natural profiler. So, Cassie learns about profiling and becomes interested in two guys – Dean and Michael. Meanwhile, there is a serial killer on the loose and Cassie just might become a target of this killer.

For a main character, I found it easy to like Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s Cassie Hobbes. She’s a worker. She is pretty independent. Also, the girl is smart. However, I wish that she had stood up for herself a bit more. There’s a side character named Lia who is like a human lie detector and she is easily able to get under Cassie’s skin. Anyways. I enjoyed reading about Cassie’s abilities and how good she was at reading people, it is kind of a unique skill as far as books about teenage crime solvers go. Also. I loved that her ability was not supernatural in nature. I will say that there’s not a lot that makes Cassie distinctive, but for a run of the mill YA heroine, she carries The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes quite well.

If you are looking for a creepy sort of read, you’ll like The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I mean, we learn about serial killers and their MOs. It’s not quite on the level of say, I Hunt Killers but could be a stepping stone to the level of creepy within that book. There are sections that are told from the killer’s point of view which are totally freaky. The serial killer POV sections or what I call the YOU sections reminded me of The Body Finder books by Kimberly Derting, because they have serial killer POVs as well and it’s kind of done in a similar fashion – interspersed between the chapters and concurrent with the main character trying to solve the mystery.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a ridiculously quick read that is having me check goodreads now to see if there is a sequel. Although there is not a cliffhanger, to me the love triangle goes unresolved and it seems as though there is more story involved and that this could make a really good series. Huh, according to goodreads this is not a series, well, excuse me you guys I am going to start a letter writing campaign because this needs to be a series.


Girls Without A Bookshelf – “This book had me asking questions all the way”
Bibliophilic Monologues – “I must confess to being less than thrilled with Barnes’s latest offering”
Read Breathe Relax – “I couldn’t read it fast enough”

Books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes:
Every Other Day

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. What I find most fascinating about The Naturals (and what I didn’t know beforehand) is that there’s no supernatural element in it. I think it’s very interesting that it works out that way! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

  2. After reading I Hunt Killers, I’m kind of getting into the whole mystery/thriller genre. Might need to check this one out.

  3. I think I read somewhere that it was going to become a series but I don’t remember where so that may not be legit. I loved this one too except for the beginning of a love triangle-ugh!

  4. Wow, I wrote my review of this book totally thinking there was a sequel. I swear I even looked it up on Goodreads and everything.

    I agree that I would have liked to see Cassie stand up for herself more, I did feel like she got overshadowed by some of the other “naturals.” But yeah, this book pleasantly surprised me, too.

  5. Haha, our reviews for this book went up the same day. I pretty much felt the same way as you about The Naturals. I even talked about I Hunt Killers in my review, too!

    I liked this book, and I definitely would recommend it, but it’s not my favorite thriller/mystery. I used to read them all the time, so I’ve read some that really stand out to me.

    I liked that Cassie’s special talents weren’t of the supernatural variety, too, though. I mean, I love a good paranormal book, but realistic (or semi-realistic) is awesome, too.

  6. This is the second review I’ve read that really makes me want to try The Naturals. I think the cover put me off, but I actually really like the sound of it.

  7. Thanks for the shout out!! Also, I will join your letter writing campaign because I thought this book was a guaranteed series. I may lose it otherwise. Haha!

    Great review as always, April!

  8. Ok, so I had this one on NetGalley and kind of just let it expire because I was like mehhhhh I’m not really into these types of books. BUT since you aren’t either and liked it, then possibly I will? I do like that it’s not actually supernatural or anything because it definitely sounded this way. I also like how you said it’s a stepping stone to I Hunt Killers because I have the book but I’m afraid to read it, so maybe it would be good for me to read this one first as a test? Idk. Anyways, I loved your review!

  9. I’m really looking forward to the next Naturals book – I really enjoyed the premise of this one and would love to spend more time with these kids. Like you, I particularly enjoyed that Cassie’s ability wasn’t supernatural, but a matter of acute observation and a ‘knack’ for interpreting people. I particularly liked that she had trouble with profiling to the extent that it differed from what she had practiced with her mom.

    I like thrillers and it’s about time they made their way to YA! I also enjoyed your review and have linked to it here.


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