Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
For those of you who read my reviews, you know that I'm a huge fan of mystery/thriller novels. Especially those that can confuse me and thrown in twists and turns to keep me guessing until the end. This book definitely satisfied all of those expectations and then some. The characters are interesting - especially Cassie and the other Naturals that are in the program with her. They all have unique personalities to go along with their interesting natural gifts. Cassie's character is the leading lady, so we get a closer look at her than the others. She's smart, talented, wary of others, and still grieving the death of her mother. She feels like she hasn't fit in anywhere since her mom died - until joining the Naturals program.
There's a bit of a love triangle factor in the book, but I didn't think it was overwhelming and it didn't snatch attention away from the main plot of the book. The plot was fantastic - it's centered around a secret FBI program for teens who are gifted or Naturals at certain specific talents. Talents that, when honed, will help the FBI solve cold cases of serial killers. Things start out creepy as we get a glimpse into the mind of a murderer, who writes in snippets under the name YOU. I was a bit confused at first with this strange second point of view, but once the story got going and you learn more about the characters and the plot, it makes a lot of sense (in a totally freaky way). The story was fresh and original with a fast pace and a great flow that immediately had me hooked from the beginning. The mystery was incredibly well written with lots of thrills and tons of unexpected twists and turns that kept the characters - and myself - guessing until the very end. I definitely got sucked into the book and ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting because I just couldn't stop. It's definitely one of the best books I've read so far this year! Very highly recommended for fans of mysteries and thrillers!
* A huge thanks to Disney Hyperion for sending me a copy of the book for review!*