Narrator: Amber Faith
Series: The Naturals,
Published by Listening Library on 05 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Long Game
Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado // Washington, DC
First Line(s): The hours were bad.
THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes first came out in 2013 and while it was on my radar then it got shuffled off to the side enough that I forgot about it. Until recently when there just seemed to be a renewed interest in the story as it was mentioned all over my social media. Not long ago I’d read Barnes’s THE FIXER (my review) and I liked her Scandal meets Veronica Mars story and so I requested the audiobook of THE NATURALS when I saw that it was available. THE NATURALS can almost be described as a teenage Criminal Minds as all the kids in the book have these natural profiling abilities. The FBI has collected a bunch of them to live together and to hone their abilities for future careers within the FBI. But of course things are never that easy when it comes to a mystery novel.
There are some added complexities to THE NATURALS first you have an eclectic cast of characters from Cassie (who is our narrator) to numbers nerd Sloane (complete with all the social awkwardness that is sterotypical of the ubersmart) and Lia the natural lie detector. And no YA book would be complete without your broody, chip on his shoulder male love interest and this one has two: Dean and Michael. Which will lead to a love triangle I am sure because you can see the beginnings of one in THE NATURALS but thankfully while there is some teen angst over liking boys and kissing boys the focus on this book isn’t the romance.
One must suspend a lot of disbelief with THE NATURALS, not that there aren’t people out there that aren’t naturals at reading people or a crime scene but that the government would recruit and train them as teenagers. And then of course there is the complex backstories of all the main characters along with the revelation that a killer has turned up over a decade later who is killing woman in the exact same way that Cassie’s mom was killed. A case that was never solved and has haunted Cassie for a variety of reasons.
For me, THE NATURALS was a very slow story. There was a whole lot of sitting around and doing nothing with a few instances where we were supposed to be wowed by Cassie’s ability. There was a lot of angst and indecision and then things just sort of happened and boom the book was done. THE NATURALS was filled with set up and background and as such it suffered by not having a ton of plot on its own. I didn’t fully buy the mystery aspect of it and was just left underwhelmed by it all. I did like the narration of Amber Finch though like most female narrators she suffered with her male voices but overall I enjoyed her style. Her voice is soothing though which doesn’t go along well with a slow and plodding story so this was one that I couldn’t listen to when sitting still else I’d space out.
I didn’t love THE NATURALS as much as I had hoped but I do see the promise of the series. I think that I will continue with it for at least one more book though the love triangle aspect does concern me. I’m also unsure if I’ll try the audiobook version or switch to a physical read as I liked the narrator but wasn’t all ZOMG must listen more! In the end, this was good not great and I’ll just have to see how things go in KILLER INSTINCT.