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Literature / The Naturals

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The Naturals is a young adult mystery series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The series follows Cassie Hobbes, a teenager who has a natural gift for profiling - using small details about a person's appearance and mannerisms to deduce information about them - who is recruited by the FBI to solve cold cases with other teenagers with special abilities. With the help of the other Naturals - Michael, who has a knack for reading emotions, Lia, a human lie detector, Sloane, who can do complex statistical analysis, and Dean, another profiler - Cassie attempts to investigate the one cold case that has always haunted her - the disappearance of her mother.


[The Naturals] contains examples of

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Agent Locke seems nice, but turns out to be the killer.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Pretty much all of the Naturals behave weirdly but effectively, especially Sloane.
  • Consummate Liar: Lia lies about everything, including her name. It's somewhere between a survival mechanism and a game.
  • Cult:
    • Lia reveals during a game of Two Truths and a Lie that she was raised in a cult. She later elaborates: She was sexually abused by its leader. To avoid his unwelcome advances, she started a witchhunt within the cult. This was the beginning of her lies.
    • In the last book, the group investigates a murder cult that's been killing people for decades according to the Fibonacci sequence. Many familiar characters are revealed to be members or victims of this cult.
  • The Cutie: Sloane is awkward, but sweet. Cassie tends to take her under her wing.
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  • Dark and Troubled Past: Every. Single. Character. Has pain in their past. Special credits to Dean (his father made him watch as he tortured and murdered women) and Lia (won't tell you).
  • FBI Agent: Cassie and the other Naturals work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigating crime, although they aren't real agents. In later books, with the arrival of Agent Sterling, we learn more about the internal politics of the FBI, which sometimes hinder the Naturals.
  • Forced to Watch: Dean reveals that his father made him watch as he tortured and murdered countless people. This is a major part of his Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lia can be mean, but usually has good intentions. Michael also behaves this way sometimes.
  • Living Lie Detector: Lia can always tell when people are lying, making her extraordinarily useful when interviewing suspects. She can't usually tell why they're lying, though — that's where the profilers come in.
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  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Dean is antisocial and, because of his father, is sometimes assumed to be violent at heart, but really does try to do the right thing.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: With their unconventional methods and tendency to get into trouble, the Naturals definitely qualify.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Judd, and Briggs (for the most part), make reasonable decisions, despite being in charge. Sterling later qualifies.
  • Sherlock Scan: Cassie and Dean are natural profilers who often use small details about a person to learn who they are.

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