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

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Reviews, YA Sci Fi

Book Review: Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris

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Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle’s mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died…and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth’s destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

What I Like:

I started reading this book assuming it was more contemporary or murder mystery. I didn’t understand why it was in the adventure/fatansy/sci fi section at Barnes and Nobles until things started getting freaky. It is because of the vague assumptions I made about the content inside this book that made it ten times better for me. I loved the roller-coaster feeling I had the whole time I was reading it. It got nerdy, it got very science fiction on me, and I loved it. The first thirty pages were amazing. It set the tone for the rest of the book. Elizabeth Norris is a talented writer.

I really liked the main character Janelle because she took the attention of herself. The first half of the book we really got to understand and know the secondary characters and even though the story is being told through Janelle, like I said before, she took the attention of herself and it really helped with the character development. I know that may sound weird, but trust me on this.

I liked the plot and the world Ms. Norris created. The story freaked me out a little bit because it is set in today’s world and the things that happened could very well happen today. Ms. Norris knows how to mess with your mind.

What I Dislike:

I have zero negative comments about this book.

Overall:

I loved Unraveling. The characters, the world, the plot, I loved it all. I highly recommend this to anyone.

Rating: 5/5

Special Review, YA Mystery

ARC Book Review: Prep School Confidential (PSC #1) by Kara Taylor

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I was provided with a ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Prep School Confidential (PSC #1)

Author: Kara Taylor

Expected Publication: July 30th, 2013

Publishing House: St. Martin’s Griffin

Goodreads Summary:

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

Review:

Amazing!

This book blew my expectations out of the water! When I was halfway through the book, I googled the author and noticed that this is her debut novel. Yes, her debut novel. I couldn’t believe it because the book is so well written and the plot is so good that I am left speechless.

Prep School Confidential is a page turner. The twists that are thrown at you leave you breathless as if you have been running a 5k marathon. The character development, the mystery, the writing, I loved everything in this book.

Since I am posting this review three weeks before the book comes out all I can say is that if you like mystery, if you like boarding school stories, or if you want a good murder story, this is the book for you.

I think even readers that are a fan of fantasy/paranormal/dystopian books will greatly enjoy this book.

Yes, its that amazing.

Rating: 5/5