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The Naturals (Jennifer Lynn Barnes) review

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Thriller

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Format: Audiobook (Spotify premium)


Cassie's always been different, she can look at someone and tell you more than she should know about them, so when an FBI agent asks her to join a group of teenage "naturals", she agrees. Now she's in a program with four other kids, just like her: Lia, the master of deception; Sloane, the human encyclopedia; Michael, a reader of emotions; and Dean, a profiler just like her. Soon, Cassie finds herself in complicated relationships, lessons on serial killers, and bodies turning up that are strangely similar to her mother's cold case.

Too many times I've found myself reading a Jennifer Lynn Barnes book and audibly laughing saying "this is so fucking stupid" but still finished the book anyway.

I've read the Inheritance Games, and it doesn't take a prodigy detective (like these characters) to know that she has a certain way of writing her books and characters. I like to believe these two series take place in the same universe, so there are teenage FBI agents solving murder cases and an 18-year-old billionaire heiress who lives in a mansion in Texas. Basically, you need some suspension of disbelief to get through these books. And while I've found many aspects of her books to be ridiculous and close to pure insanity, I can't lie and say I don't enjoy them just a bit.

I liked this first installment more than the first installment of the Inheritance Games, maybe because I'm obsessed with Criminal Minds and this is a version of the BAU but with teens. The plot is interesting, the writing is easy to digest, and the characters' interaction with each other is peak entertainment. But some things never change, as in there's an unnecessary love triangle, weird censoring of swear words, and like I said, general ridiculousness.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, it's fun and goofy and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series, I just have to mentally prep myself for three more books of (IMO) unwanted romantic subplot.

Blog post:

This is Jennifer Lynn Barnes's character formula:

The main girl who's smart and whose mom is dead and whose father is absent: Avery, Cassie

Love interest 1, the broody boy with a cold exterior: Grayson, Dean

Love interest 2, the wilder one who takes risks: Jameson, Michael

The quirky best friend: Max, Sloane (ooh gender neutral names)

The condescending girl who acts like she's better than everyone: Thea, Lia (both names ends with ..-a)

how fun, no actually this was pretty fun


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