A Rave On “All In”
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Full of complex plotlines that keep the reader hooked throughout, Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ “All In” is the third book in the marvelous YA mystery series, “The Naturals.” Throughout the novel, the protagonist, Cassie Hobbes, and her fellow “Naturals” (teens with exceptional abilities utilized by the FBI to solve crimes) are forced to deal with their past struggles while simultaneously facing a seemingly unsolvable string of serial killings in Las Vegas. The antagonist of the story bases all of his attacks on meticulous patterns that the team must decipher.
The main characters are the Naturals: Cassie, Dean, Michael, Sloane and Lia; Judd Hawkins, a retired marine sniper who acts as the Naturals’ guardian; Agent Tanner Briggs,the man who founded the Naturals program and who acts as the FBI front for their operations; and Agent Veronica Sterling, Briggs’ ex-wife and a fellow FBI agent who assists the team and acts as a partially maternal figure–just colder. The author successfully blends the characters into a family of sorts, especially by including common conflicts and resolutions that would be present within a “normal” family.
Even though they are frequently in disagreement, disobey orders more than not and disrupt each other’s lives, the Naturals and their posse always protect their own and side together. The authenticity of the relationships and emotions present in the book creates a connection between the readers and the characters, their decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. This is the work of an author who is skilled at blending real-life experiences with fictional additions.
This book is more than worth the read and, if you do plan on reading it , then reading the first two books of “The Naturals” series would be a wise choice . If you read “All In” first, while you won’t be confused or feel left out too often, there are certain inside jokes and facts you learn throughout the first two books that would enrich your experience of the third.
There is no doubt that Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a skillful writer and has produced a marvelous mystery series.