By Kelley Crawford
Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s YA novel, The Naturals, brings criminal minds alive, and gives a new meaning to the word “Booked.”
Summary: Seventeen year-old Cassie doesn’t fit in anywhere. Rather than waiting tables like a normal teenager, she is profiling the patrons at the diner and guessing their each and every move. She’s a profiler—a natural one—and one day a guy her age named Michael tells her that she’s not alone. He gives her a card, tells her to call the number on it, and let’s her know that if she says “yes,” that she’ll be in the FBI. With a murdered mother and an absent father, Cassie sees Michael’s offer as a possibility to find out who killed her mother. In other words, she says, “yes,” and her time in the FBI leads her to much more than she ever expected. With Lia, the lie detector; Sloan, the statistician; Michael, the reader; and Dean, a natural profiler like her, Cassie falls into a world of twist and turns, which has dead bodies along the entire trail. As she gets closer to finding her mother’s killer, she also gets closer to finding the history of her mother. One twist after another makes Cassie realize that she didn’t just fall into this job at the FBI—she was hand picked for a specific reason.
Review: Whether it’s by the edge of a pool, on a plane, waiting for a ride, or right before bed, The Naturals is a book that makes you ignore everything else except the words on the page and the story being woven before you. The chapters are short and poignant, the characters are entertaining and developed, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes brings her reader into a psychological thriller filled with cognitive science and strange facts.
Bottom Line: You won’t want to put down this thriller that makes you wonder just how a killer would think.