If you’re looking for CSI meets X-Men: First Class, the young adult thriller mystery The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is right up your alley.
Cassie has an innate ability to read people, one honed by her time on the road with her faux-psychic mother. But mom’s been dead for five years, murdered by someone unknown and the body missing. When an FBI agent comes calling, Cassie joins his special project, a group of teens with similar abilities to hers who are being aimed at cold cases. Michael reads emotions, Lia is an expert in deception, Sloane loves numbers, and Dean … is grumpy. He’s another profiler, and he’s been deeply affected by the work they’re asked to do.
Of course, there are two guys for Cassie to waffle between. Of course, the brooding one has a dark secret. In a world of Pretty Little Liars and The Tomorrow People, this project is tailor-made for an hour-long ABC teen drama, but I found it an entertaining read, with one exception. The inset pages between certain chapters, in which the serial-killer “you” butcher someone, are unnecessary, over-the-top, and tasteless. It’s meant to replicate Cassie’s learning, but I recommend skipping them.
When the book isn’t being ooky about murders, the characters’ ticks and quirks are fascinating, particularly the statistic-obsessed Sloane, who should never have coffee. Of course, if this does well, there’ll be more in a potential series. I’d read another one. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)