The News Website for Glendale High School


Breaking News
  • May 1Senior Alexis Cabral wins 2024 Lancaster Prize, for her article "A Day Without a Phone"!
  • November 18Girls varsity volleyball team defeats Marin Academy, 3-1, to win CIF Division IV State Championship!
  • November 2Girls varsity volleyball beats Moorpark, 3-0, to claim CIF SS Division 6 Championship!
  • September 13Dr. Lynette Ohanian named GHS Principal! Her previous AP position will be filled by Ms. Jessica De La O!
The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


The Naturals, Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Even a person without profiling skills can tell that this novel is a miss

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was published in 2013, and it is the first novel in a four-book series. This is a young adult thriller series that follows Cassie Hobbes, a 17-year-old girl who is contacted by the FBI to join a special program.

The story starts off with Cassie working in a diner, when a young man comes in and asks her to guess how he likes his eggs. In Cassie’s internal dialogue, we learn that she uses small details about people to guess things about them. She decides that the man wants his eggs over-easy, and he gives her a business card. Cassie calls the number on the card and meets with Special Agent Briggs.

Agent Briggs tells Cassie that she’s a natural profiler and that he is looking for “Naturals” to become FBI agents. This is when we learn that the man that came into the diner earlier, whose name is Michael, is also a Natural, who can read people’s emotions. 

Agent Briggs says that he wants Cassie to leave her “big Italian family” to go with him to Virginia and train with the other Naturals. We eventually find out that Cassie’s mother was murdered and Cassie was the one that found the body, and her father is enlisted in the Army. 

Cassie’s father just allows her to go away with Agent Briggs—a man he’s never met before—to a different state, on the other side of the US. Because that makes total sense, right?! 

It’s also never mentioned if Cassie is in high school or not. And apparently her grandparents, whom she lives with, have no say in whether or not she moves to another state.

In any event, Cassie goes to a facility called “The House” and meets the other Naturals: Dean Redding (a profiler), Lia Zhang (a human lie detector), Michael Townsend (an emotions reader), and Sloane Tavish (a human dictionary). All of the other Naturals also have traumatic pasts that help them to be better FBI agents. 

Overall, I found all the main characters to be totally flat. Sloane and Lia are basically just there to watch Cassie do stuff. 

And then there’s Dean and Micheal, the two love interests. Because what we need right now in young adult literature is yet another unbearable love-triangle. 

In the beginning of the book, Cassie describes herself as “odd-looking”, and yet both Dean (the bad boy) and Michael (the safe option) fall instantly in love with her. Why? 

Dean and Cassie are both profilers, so they train together with Agent Locke. The profilers are supposed to get into the heads of serial killers and try to predict what they’re going to do next. But for some reason, their training only consists of profiling people at the mall and Dean pretending that he’s a serial killer.

At the time of the training, there is a serial killer making their way around the United States. So when Agent Briggs and Locke leave to investigate the murders, we learn about Dean’s tragic backstory, which also happens to be very similar to Cassie’s. 

Although the plot twist at the end of the novel is shocking, I found it all very hard to believe. But this book, as a whole, is also pretty unbelievable. 

If you can stand the annoying love-triangle, the cringey dialogue, and the flat characters, then this book isn’t too bad. It’s a fast-paced story and a short read. 

But in the end, I think that you can skip this book entirely. I understand why some people like it, but there are so many better books on the market. 

Maybe instead check out the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy by Holly Jackson. You’ll be happy you did.

About the Contributor
Evie Richardson, Staff Writer
Evie is a freshman at Glendale High School. She is a new member of the journalism class and has been a part of the JDL for nine years. She enjoys reading and painting.
More to Discover