The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Profiling in the FBI

March 30, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Profiling in the FBIThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #1
Published by Quercus on November 7, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
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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 abilites.

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...

I have no idea why it took me so long to read The Naturals. But I’m so glad I finally did, because I really enjoyed the FBI angle.

The Naturals is about a group of teens who help the FBI solve crimes with their ‘abilities’. This is genius, I mean FBI and YA, why hasn’t this been done before (or why hasn’t anyone told me about it)?

It’s these abilities that I found really fascinating. Cassie is a profiler, who can deduce who and what a person is just from looking at them and analysing their behaviour, posture, clothes and what they do or don’t do. With Lia’s ability to tell lies, Michael and his emotive reading and Sloane’s human computer brain, this is a group of teens you don’t want to mess with. I loved how these abilities didn’t veer over the supernatural side of things, and were believable.

But I wanted to know more! How were these teens discovered? How did they know about their abilities? How did they develop these abilities? If only the book would have contained less teen drama, territorial cat fighting and a cheesy love triangle, I would have absolutely loved it.

“That’s what profilers do, isn’t it? You look at the way a person is dressed, or the way a person talks, every little detail, and you put that person in a box. You figure out what kind of individual you’re dealing with, and you convince yourself that you know exactly what everyone else wants.” – Michael

The Naturals is super creepy as we actually get inside a serial killer’s head. In between chapters, we’ll see little snippets of the murderer choosing, killing or obsessing over their next victim. It was dark and disturbing, a lot darker than the UK cover actually lets on and I really lapped up this depth. I kind of figured out the murderer before the actual peak though, but I thought it was done really well.

The characters, I adored with their quirky and vibrant personalities which stood out. There is Dean as the broody bad boy with a secret, Michael as a sweet and empathetic nice guy, and  Sloane and her weird and factual personality. But the person who really stood out is Lia, the catty Asian girl with a lot of sass. Lia is the type of girl you’d never be able to get a handle on, for she could switch it up just for the sake of throwing you off.

“I’ll accept gifts in lieu of an apology…Any time now is fine.” – Lia 

I don’t really know how I felt about Cassie though. Yes she knows how to profile people, she’s eager to please and she is traumatised over her mother’s murder, but there didn’t really seem to be much drive or substance behind her. Even though we’re reading from her point of view, I felt like we knew elements of her, but we didn’t really get to know her innermost thoughts and feelings.

With all of the murder mystery, the foreshadowing for the killer, the profiling and the silly love triangle going on though, something needed to give.

Also, why does there need to be a love triangle in every YA book? Why can’t we pick up a book and enjoy the mystery and the plot without it diverging into a silly chest beating, testosterone match between two guys fighting over the same girl? I don’t think I was partial to either Dean or Michael, because they started getting jealous over each other’s time spent with Cassie too soon for my liking.

I was the prize. And if they weren’t careful, Michael and Dean were going to kill each other.


There were elements of The Naturals that I really loved, including the murder mystery, the profiling and the secondary characters. But the things that I disliked, such as the teen drama, the lack of details and the predictability kind of stunted the book for me. I really enjoyed the fast paced read though, and hopefully some of that development occurs in Killer Instinct. Plus FBI and murders, yes please.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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27 responses to “The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Profiling in the FBI

  1. I know this is one of those books I am going to be very eager to try and read myself! I like the idea of combing YA and the FBI angle as well, and it seems like the two are combined well while they're at it. It's just a shame about how the love triangle and some cheesy parts slip in under the radar.
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    • So did I Lisa, hopefully I'll pick up Killer Instinct sooner than I picked this one up. I can totally understand!

  2. Aahhh.. I'm really starting to dislike the love triangles now, they pop up in EVERY SINGLE YA BOOK </3 I do like the premise of this, and I'm still glad you enjoyed it for the most part – I just added this to my TBR. Fantastic review Jeann<3
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    • I really enjoyed it Kara, even though there was a bit of teen drama the writing was really great and refreshing! Thanks!

  3. Zoe

    I completely agree with this review 100% Jeann. This was definitely an entertaining novel, but I felt the teen drama was just a bit too high. I think there should have been a bit more emphasis on the actual mystery than the love triangle, you know? Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    • Yeah, the mystery was really great though but the love triangle was lame! But hey, you can't have everything 😉 Thanks Zoe!

  4. FBI and murders FTW. I love anything that has the FBI involved but I heard similar thing in terms of the main character and the drama involved which was why I didn't immediately rush out and find a copy of this book to read. .-.

    Seeing that you enjoyed this one though, I feel like I should give this a shot because even if it won't be completely mindblowingly awesome, at least I know it'll make for good brain candy! 😀

    Lovely review, hon <3
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  5. OH I LOVED THIS BOOK. I put it off for like 2 years! I don't even know why! Well…I do. My sister reviewed it so I kind of didn't feel the pressure/rush to read and it just got pushed so far down my TBR it was embarrassing. *ahem* I LOVED the FBI angle so much, and it actually inspired me to go and find some non-fiction books on cold-reading and profiling. 😉 I'm reading one now and it's super interesting. AHEM.

    My biggest squinty eyed moment was HOW Cassie got hired. I mean, really?! They hired her off the strength of her guessing how Michael wanted his eggs?! I needed a bit more logic and factualness for that to float imo. >_<
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