The NaturalsAuthor: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #1
Genre: YA Mystery, Thriller
Published: November 7th 2013 by Quercus
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository
Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don't lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping. Most teenagers can't tell who you are, where you're from and how you're likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don't get chosen to join The Naturals.Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilities.For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother's horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be...
Wow. This is just –
Gods, I have no words. The Naturals is simply mind-blowing. This is freaking epic! One of the best YAs I've read this year, no shit.
I love mystery and thriller but sadly, I don't get a lot of that in YA. (Know some good ones? Recommendations are highly appreciated! ^__^) Enter The Naturals. Serial killers? Check. FBI? Check. Teenagers with 'unusual gifts'? Check. Maybe a hint of romance? Check. So I dived in. And boy, I didn't resurface for a long time. This book is a page-turner so I suggest DO NOT PICK UP THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU'RE WILLING TO DROP EVERYTHING ELSE YOU'RE DOING.
So yeah. The Naturals.
What do I love about it? Basically everything, but here's the gist:
✔The characters. Or more specifically, their 'gifts'. I liked the fact that their abilities aren't too paranormal (like mind-reading, telekinesis, clairvoyance) but rather, more realistic because they are based on human psychology. The characters themselves may be a bit cliché, but I liked that despite their being Naturals, they are still teenagers having teenager issues. Cassie as the main character and narrator of the story was okay. Her ability was really intriguing and it was an amazing experience being inside her head. The other characters were great, too. Dean, Michael, Lia and Sloane have different personalities and issues that make them interesting characters. They were exceptional individually but more so when they're working together. My favorite was Sloane, though some people say that she's the least useful among the Naturals. I like her awkwardness and she has a certain naivete and innocence that I can't help liking. I also love the tension between the characters, their banters and quarrels. There's no shortage on sass and sarcasm in The Naturals, but really, what else would you expect when you put five extraordinary and most probably traumatized teenagers in one house? Hormones are raging so expect one or two kissing scenes, jealousy, a maybe or maybe not love triangle and lots of teenage angst.
✔Its uniqueness. What made this book unique to me was the touch of psychology. It was really interesting how much you can tell about someone just by looking at their posture, body language, facial expressions, mannerisms, etc. (And of course, it reminds me that once upon a time I wanted to study psychology.)
✔The plot. I liked the build-up of events, the way they were written, how they lead into the climax and resolution. The story was well-written and well-put together.
✔The mystery. I didn't realize I was holding my breath a lot of times until I actually remember to breathe again. Like I said, The Naturals is a page-turner. One time, I even read until 2am even it's a weekday and I have classes in the morning. It was that compelling that I couldn't stop myself from reading page after page. I always wanted to know what will happen next.
✔The You chapters. Because the story was told from Cassie's perspective, it was a nice move on the author's part to include the You chapters to show the killer's perspective but in a way like Cassie was profiling the killer and climbing inside his head. And actually, these are the parts that gave me the chills the most.
✔The twist and the revelation. The killer's identity came as a total surprise. I honestly did not see that one coming. I suspected a lot of characters but never the actual killer. When everything fell into place and the identity of the killer was revealed, I was mind-fucked! Nice one, Miss Barnes! Bazillion points for shock factor!
This mind-numbing, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping thriller is something you wouldn't want to miss. If you're looking for a freaking awesome crime thriller, The Naturals is highly recommended.