Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Naturals



The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Narrated by Amber Faith


  • Overall Rating: 3.78 Stars
  • Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
  • Narration: 4 stars


Rating Breakdown:

  • Originality: 4 stars
  • Character Development: 4.5 stars
  • Plot: 3.5 stars

Genre based ratings:

  • Young Adult: 3.5 stars
  • Mystery: 4 stars
  • Romance: 3 stars

This is a series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes about a group of teens that have special skill sets that are used by the FBI in a special group to help solve closed cases. Cassie is really good at reading people in ways that the average person cannot do. Cassie takes ‘profiling’ to a different level and the FBI are intent on honing her skills and making her stronger. She was offered the opportunity to come aboard this group of misfits, which she accepted (or we would not be having this book or review).

When Cassie was younger her mother was brutally murdered. The FBI  never found the body, nor the killer. Cassie accepted this offer for this elite group of teens in hopes that she would be able to see her mother’s file and finally have some closure. Not long after Cassie joins this ragtag bunch of teens, murders start popping up, murders similar to her mother’s. Cassie goes off kilter and trying to solve these murders in hopes that she can ultimately find her mother’s killer. Along the way, she attempts to get a feel for who she can trust, and who she should steer clear of, but, are her intuitions correct? Or is her feelings regarding her mother’s death clouding her ability to read what is going on? Dun dun duuuun!

So why did I only give the plot 3.5 stars? While I feel the book, overall, was a pretty decent story, I feel that it could have been further developed. I believe the relationships between the teens and FBI agents could have been more developed in their relation and how they fit into the story overall.  I also feel that the plot twist, though a FANTASTIC one that I did not see coming, could have been further developed to deliver a more meaningful punch to the story to have a more significant WOW factor and impact.

I gave the Character development 4.5 stars and while it may conflict with what I wrote a paragraph ago, I want to point out, that the character sketches for those in this story are spot on. Each character has their own personality, their own issues, that make them fit with the rest of the group and into the story. I feel that some characters needed more interactions in the story’s overall plot development. It felt like some characters were left out, and it primarily focused on Cassie, Michael, and Dean.  I am hoping to see more of Lia and Sloanne in the next book as they were funny, lively, and made each scene they were in, unique.

I gave this book 4 stars for originality, 3.5 for its categorization of Young Adult, 4 for mystery, and 3 for romance. Here is why, I do believe this to be an original storyline. I stopped reading mysteries a long time ago because I felt they were all done multiple times over and I could figure most of them out. This story was very unique, and I didn’t see the plot twist coming (which is why it received a 4 star for mystery). I am not sure why the subcategory includes romance. Cassie kissed Michael, secretly crushed on Dean, but there was not much more than that. Maybe in the next installment, Barnes will dive into the relationship a bit more.

Narrated by Amber Faith, this book was elevated to a more enjoyable level. Let me reiterate, though I love reading actual copies of books, every now and then, a narrator brings the book to a higher level of enjoyment. Faith did just that. However, her best narration was Cassie, the main character. I did enjoy the voices for her other characters, but I am sure as the characters develop in the story, the narration will as well.


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