Reviews, YA Mystery

Book Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

My Initial Thoughts:

I’d read one of Ms. Barnes books before and I liked it….a lot! It wasn’t a murder mystery like this one, but it had to deal with spies and government operatives. I’m a sucker for those stories.

Review:

Now, let’s talk about The Naturals. I really like this book. The main character, Cassie, is very observant, or what the FBI would call a profiler only she doesn’t know it until she gets the attention of the FBI one day. She knew she was different because she never fit in wherever she was. Cassie gets recruited into the The Naturals program, where other teenagers also have a natural ability whether it is to tell if someone is lying, what their emotions are, or how to profile people.

When Cassie gets to the program, she meets what I call the “Fantastic Four”, soon to become the “Fantastic Five”. Each teenager has one specific talent: Lia can lie like nobody’s business and also detect lies, Michael can read emotions off a person and has a very good poker face, Sloane sees the world through a mathematical point of view and can hack any government program or database, and Dean is a profiler, just like her.

The “romance” in the story takes the back burner throughout the whole book, and sometimes its hard to pick up the subtle hints here and there. Some of you may be Team Dean or Team Michael, but what I loved the most was the case and how all five of them even though they are messed up, can do good in the world one case at a time. It’s like a teenage Bones/CSI crossover. I love it!

Ms. Barnes has a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Science, and her knowledge is sprinkled throughout the book. I absolutely love it when authors add their area of expertise to their novels. It takes the books up another notch!

Rating: 4.5/5

thenaturals

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Book Blast from the Past

Book Blast from the Past Review: The Princess Diaries #1 by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries
The Princess Diaries

This month I have chosen The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot to be featured in my Book Blast from the Past Feature. When I was 13, The Princess Diaries series was my favorite series and it helped me get through middle school which was a hard time for me because I was the new girl in a new place.

Originally Published: 2001

Copy Read: Princess Diaries Collection (#1-3)

Publisher: Harper Teen (A HarperCollins Publishers Imprint)

Goodreads Summary:

She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…

News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)

Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty–no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

Review:

The last time I read this book was in 2004. I had forgotten how witty Mia is and how hilarious Mia and Lilly are together. I swooned for Michael at 13, and I swooned at 22 again. My 13 year old self enjoyed this book, and today my 22 year old self is enjoying it as well. Mia deals with real life problems, even if some people would classify them as first world problems, but they are real problems nonetheless. Problems like the separation of parents, love life problems, having to deal with your mother dating other people that is not your father, and dealing with family that you are not exactly fond of. We will all have those issues at some point [if we don’t already]  in our lives and Mia helps us see how bad it can get, but also that it isn’t all horrible. The Princess Diaries is a book that can be enjoyed by many, and the witty lines in the book only adds to its amazing-ness (Yes, I am aware “amazing-ness” is not a real word.)

Rating: 5/5

Rating System:

1/5: I hate it.

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book.

3/5: I like it /A fun read.

4/5: I really like it, but something is missing.

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!