Book Reviews

Book Review: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things by Martina McAtee

I want to start by saying I’ve been a fan of the YA paranormal genre for years. I love supernatural characters and magical settings. I’m always fascinated by how authors and screenwriters spin stories that leave you on the edge of your seat.

I also love snark.

Now, let me tell you a little about Martina McAtee.


I purchased her novel Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (a young adult paranormal novel) after seeing the cover on social media. I loved the cover and the title and decided it was worth giving the book a read.

Two things:

  1. I am so glad I did. Instead of binge-watching TV shows when I wanted some entertainment away from writing, I found myself reading this book.
  2. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so invested in someone else’s characters in my life. I found myself tearing up in one scene in particular, and I don’t even cry in movies.

Okay, I’m a rebel, so I’m going to add a third point. I will always read books from this author. I fell in love with her writing style and felt like I was part of the family of characters in Belle Haven. CSPWDT gets a whopping 5 stars from this girl! (Can I give it 6?!)

So, what’s this story about?

Taken straight from the Amazon page:

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

What you need to know about the Dead Things Series

If you are new to the Dead Things Series, there are a few things you should know.

  1. Martina doesn’t write fluff. She writes snarky, action-packed books…and they are LONG! I’m talking 500 pages+. I was a little hesitant about this at first, but after finishing the book and heading right into the sequel, I was very thankful I had more to follow in the character’s lives.
  2. She writes in multiple POVs. This was confusing to me at first since the book had 4 POVs, but I grew to LOVE it after the first few chapters. It was a great way to get in the characters’ heads. It felt like I was watching a TV show, which was pretty awesome since it compared to one of my favorites in terms of sass and paranormal: The Vampire Diaries.
  3. Martina has a Facebook fan page called the Deadlings, where you can read never-before-seen excerpts, choose your faction, participate in contests and more. As I got further into the book, I had to see if she had a street team. Turns out she does.  If you want to join, you can do so here.

What am I reading now?

I have hundreds of books on my Kindle waiting to be read, but I couldn’t bring myself to read them after finishing Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things. A day or two after I finished, I picked up the sequel, Dark Dreams and Dead Things and finished it quickly. That book was just as faced-paced, full of action, and amazing! Soon after, I read Martina’s new release, Loving You With Teeth and Claws, and it didn’t disappoint! Now I’m reading Keeper of the Lost Souls by Kristy Centeno.

Have any paranormal book recommendations? Tell me what I should read next in the comments below!

…And if you’d like to order Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (you’re missing out if you don’t!), click the Amazon link below:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *