Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: November 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Cassie is approached by the FBI to join their secret program because they believe her to be a Natural, a person with natural talent at discerning things about people. Cassie’s Natural gift is profiling. She moves to Washington DC where she lives in a house with other teens, all with gifts of their own. Michael who can read people’s emotions, Dean another profiler, Lia a liar with the ability to spot lies from anyone and Sloane, a girl who can see patterns.
Cassie isn’t sure what to think of her new friends, if she can call them that, but suddenly she’s thrown into a current case. Naturals are only supposed to be used on cold cases, but this current case is too intriguing to ignore. Because it reminds Cassie of her mother. Her dead mother. And they never found the body…
I like Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s other books so I was pleased to read this for review. Like always, the characters are fun and distinct, each having their own voice. It’s never a problem hearing the characters speak in one of her books because they each carry their own personality so well, it’s like the reader is right there in the room with them. I especially love Sloane, awkward and trivia minded Sloane, and Lia. Because who doesn’t want to love a crazy bad girl. I have to say I am torn between Michael and Dean, so bravo Ms. Barnes. I don’t know which one I like better for dear Cassie, and maybe that’s the point. They’re both so different and bring such conflicting energies to the table. I haven’t felt so conflicted since Damon vs. Stefan! (TVD, peeps.)
Anyway, the story is fast paced. You could read it in one sitting if you wanted to. I felt slightly warm towards Cassie and Dean, the profilers, mostly because (try not to think badly of me) but I do find serial killers fascinating as well. Now, I don’t want to meet one, see one, shake hands with one. But I can’t help watching those TV documentaries on series killers if they come up. So I share in Cassie’s morbid fascination with the humans she has to study and get into their heads. That said, I wasn’t sure what to make of our narrator Cassie. I wasn’t bothered by her observations or her voice, but shouldn’t she be a little more.. I don’t know. Damaged? Maybe I’ve been reading too many New Adult and all those damaged characters that spring to mind.
But while the plot is fast, I felt like there were a few things lacking. First, the entire premise, while supposed to take place in the real world, seems a little too far fetched. I’m all for secret government arms enlisting teenagers with special abilities, but there wasn’t enough back story or depth to this side and if felt flimsy. Also, I’d love it if Lia and Sloane had a bit more to do in the story. They’re by far, far more interesting than Cassie (sorry, but they are) and any scene that either of them are in really elevated the storytelling and humor for me. Last but not least, the ending. I’m not going to give it away, don’t worry. But I wasn’t sold.
Overall, the book is a fast paced thriller with a lot of great characters and hilarious dialogue. I just wish there was a little more beneath the surface.
Rating 7 Would Recommend