The Naturals

Bk. 1. 320p. (The Naturals Series). Hyperion/Disney. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423168232; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9781423181187.
Gr 9 Up—The FBI recruits Cassie Hobbes, 17, to be one of the Naturals, a group of teens with innate crime-solving abilities. Cassie learned how to read people from her mother, a performing psychic who disappeared five years ago and is presumed to be dead. With her father overseas in the military and her large extended Italian family in Colorado, Cassie sets out on her own to Washington, DC, to hone her skills under the tutelage of Special Agent Lacey Locke. The four other teens living in her house possess extraordinary skills as well. Mysterious Dean can read people on sight, handsome and mischievous Michael can understand people's emotions, intense and brainy Sloane can quickly analyze facts and numbers, and catty and pushy Lia can instantly detect a lie. Cassie begins her training with cold cases but is quickly swept into an ongoing investigation. Despite the best efforts of their mentors to keep them off the case, the investigation, which is personal for Cassie, requires the talents of all the teens to solve. This fast-paced series starter introduces the characters and background without losing the intensity of the plot. The murder scenes have just enough blood and gore for forensics fans. The love triangle among Cassie, Dean, and Michael will keep romance readers entertained, and the FBI cases will lure in mystery enthusiasts. The ending is resolved with just enough left open for readers to look forward to the next installment.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
Seventeen-year-old Cassie, an exceptional people-reader, is the newest recruit for the FBI's program for teens with singular crime-solving talents. Cassie and her fellow prodigies get to know one another while honing their forensic skills. Then Cassie discovers an open case that might explain her missing mother's whereabouts. Smart and well paced, this mystery has all the addictive appeal of a TV crime procedural.

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