We have something very awesome and special planned tomorrow, blogglings. Just warning you…
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
The first thing I noticed about this book was the endorsement. It was endorsed by Allie Carter! It’s about teen FBI people. Allie Carter has to be the queen of teen spy books, so if she thought it was good? It was going to be.
And it is. The Naturals is a really, really good book. I’m not kidding, I could not put it down. I just wanted to sit there and find out who was the serial killer and how Cassie would save the day when no one would let her.
Firstly, I shall mention the characters. They are hilarious. (Is it possible that humour is even better when it’s mixed with suspense?) Cassie is a pretty cool character. She’s wouldn’t make it to my years list of most memorable protagonists, sure, but I felt she was strong enough to keep up with the cast of supporters. You know that writing tip that goes something like, “Make your secondary characters act like they’re the star of their own story?” Yep. One word. Lia. She was pretty much the smart, Asian version of Joanna Mason from Catching Fire. She was great. And Sloane was pretty hilarious, too. (With an awesome name.)
The plot is probably the most memorable part of this book. It’s very fascinating, what with all the crime scenes, solving cases, all that sort of crime-thriller stuff. I ended up glued to a lounge chair turning pages. The mystery is great. Literally everyone you know and love could have turned out to be the killer.
A word of warning, though. The reason this book didn’t get five stars is that I felt a little uncomfortable reading it. See, when I started, I immediately noticed the lack of strong language, and assumed it’d be written for the same audience as Gallagher Girls. It’s a lot more violent than GG.
I was also surprised at the use of a love triangle. I thought that was a no-no these days. The author handled it well, it wasn’t tacky or predictable, and I like it that through the whole book, the last thing on Cassie’s mind was choosing a guy. They were kind of there, and she was, and she didn’t stew over it. She had bigger fish to fry, and did she chargrill them!
The best parts of this book are the suspense and the humour, noted above. It’s a very addicting read, and I can absolutely see why people are saying very good things about it. And there’s that twist. The one that leaves you like this:
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a “practice book” and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.
Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She’ll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.