by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
This is my fifth Jennifer Lynn Barnes book so far, and I really enjoyed it. She consistently delivers really good books... They're not amazing, all-time-favourites, but they're books I really love reading and have a had time putting them down.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.
I don't have a whole lot to say about this book really. Because I've read other stories like it before (special kids, recruited by the FBI or some other secret government program), and it was predictable in a lot of ways -- even the character types were predictable (the brooding bad boy, the charmer, the quirky odd one, the outgoing one who is occasionally catty but not all bad who is sort of a rival to the main character, etc.).
But it hooked me, and it never bored me and I loved the characters anyway. I didn't like that it had a love triangle, but found myself a bit caught up in it anyway.
This is one of those books that, when I try to review it, I have a hard time thinking what to write that doesn't seem negative. Which is frustrating, because this review isn't meant to be negative -- it's just... I can't pin point exactly what it was about it that I liked. I don't know why I liked it, only that I did. And I could list many things about the book that should have made me dislike it, but at the end of the day I liked it in spite of those things (or maybe even because of them -- we all have certain clichés that we enjoy reading about, it's how they become cliché in the first place).
The tl;dr version of this craptastic review is this: I really enjoyed reading this book. I enjoy reading all of Jennifer's books (so far). I enjoyed it so much that I was kicking myself for not having the sequel ready to read when I finished this one. I'd rate it 3.5 stars out of 5 (maybe 4, if we're going by enjoyability and not factoring in unoriginality and predictability).