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Everything Alyce: 'The 'Naturals' by Aaron Patterson, Melody Carlson, Robin Parrish and K. C. Neal

Monday, 7 December 2015

'The 'Naturals' by Aaron Patterson, Melody Carlson, Robin Parrish and K. C. Neal

First things first, I need to say a huge thank you to All Night Reads for accepting my request to view this title on NetGalley, and to NetGalley for the service that they provide.

It's nearing the end of the year, so it's that time when I start to panic about completing all of my reading challenges - including the A-Z reading challenge, of which I hadn't completed 'N'. Hence the fact I scrolled back through my NetGalley acceptances and picked the book that interested me the most, one that I'd been highly anticipating.
There are four chapters (sorry, "episodes") in this collection, one for each character: Avery, Marshall, Hailey and Israel.

Avery meets a new boy from school and arranges a coffee date.
Marshall's car breaks down and he receives a mysterious prophecy from a confused old man.
Hailey meets a new boy while out running and arranges a running date.
Israel moves a lot, and regularly has visions that include a giant metallic-silver robot-machine-monster-animal thing.

What I didn't realise when I requested 'The 'Naturals' on NetGalley was that it was a serial, meaning that there are episodes released every few months. I'd assumed it was going to be a complete novel, written by four people and featuring four characters, and I thought it would be extremely interesting and absorbing, very well-developed. This wasn't the case.
I'm not going to be able to give spoilers for 'The 'Naturals' because - in these four "episodes" at least - nothing happens. This is just going to be me speculating about what could possibly happen in the future, so don't blame me if I happen to guess correctly!
It's pretty obvious that more things are going to happen in the future installations, because all of the kids are exhibiting symptoms of some kind of power. Avery has a "sixth sense" around people (some call it gut instinct, but whatever), Marshall can subconsciously fix electronics, Hailey's moods change the weather and Israel is randomly experiencing hot-hot hands, which for some reason he seems to find completely normal.
It sounds like it's going to be 'Fantastic Four'-esque, with a group of teenagers featuring an empath, a flamethrower, a weather-girl and someone who is good with computers, so I'm imagining future installments will get a lot more exciting and a lot less natural. It's just a shame that it needs to have such a slow, cliché-stuffed start (the drunken mother who shows up at school and embarrasses her child, the stroppy teenager who gets moved around a lot, the nerd with a hatred for the popular kids, and the insta-love with the attractive, mysterious neighbour) because it definitely felt like an amalgamation of the average YA novels that I've read this year.
I'm probably going to end up buying the other episodes of the season, just to see what the heck is going to go on - this is a great way to sell copies of your titles, by making the first installation free and each installation cost a pound for just over 100 pages. If I do end up reading the rest of 'The 'Naturals' and I don't enjoy it, at least I'll be able to appreciate the authors and their marketing technique. 

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