The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Hey everyone, so far today has been a good day, it was the refreshers trade fair at my University today so I got a lot of free stuff and treated myself to toffee flavoured tea (which is very nice) and I may or may not have accidentally signed up to be an organ donor. After my fun-filled antics at the trade fair I felt inspired to write a review for the book I only just finished; the Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Unlike many other books which I generally chose because I knew authors or the fact that it was recommended by authors I like, I chose ‘the Naturals’ completely at random. Although it has been recommended by Ally Carter (author of the Gallagher girls) whose books I used to love. It is primarily a novel about spies and the FBI, something I haven’t read a lot of recently; although I remember devouring the Gallagher Girls and the Alex Rider series when I was younger.

For the first few-hundred pages I was captivated by this novel, however towards the end of the book I began to lose interest, mainly because I wasn’t overly keen on the main character and partly because it was yet another YA book with a love triangle. Have I ever mentioned how much I’m beginning to hate love triangles in YA? (Unless they’re written well and add something more to the book that is).

The characters were okay, however I felt like their special abilities (i.e Lia’s ability to detect lies and Michael’s ability to read emotions) were neglected after they were introduced, I think Lia was a good character who was sadly a background character for the majority of the book. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Sloane, especially when she’s not sprouting out statistics and facts; it would’ve been nice if she had a personality, or maybe if her kleptomania was used at some point in the book (otherwise what is the point of mentioning it?) Michael was a good character and I liked the fact that he was an emotion reader which I found really interesting.

Also I found the love triangle was somewhat forced in the book, I feel it was there mainly because love triangles are so popular in YA books.

Some areas of the book dragged on, and we don’t get to the real climax of the story until about 200 pages in, and even though the end captivated my attention I felt like it was rushed and I found myself missing bits of the story and having to reread it again so as not to miss anything.

The plot is of course very implausible, but I think it was quite a clever plot; the FBI hiring people who had natural instincts and training them to help them in cases in the future. I just wish that more of the book focused on the murders, instead of the predictable love triangle between Michael, Cassie and Dean which was kind of wedged in the middle of the book.

Overall I enjoyed the book, even though I thought the beginning dragged on for too long and the ending was rushed. However I did like the mystery and  some of the characters, all I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t give up on this book, otherwise I would’ve missed the ending which was undoubtedly the best part. To conclude I’d give it 3/5 stars.


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