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

Gonna start this one off a little differently….with an excerpt from the Author’s Bio.

….Her influences include Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Joss Whedon, L.J. Smith and even J.K. Rowling….”  After reading this how could you not be interest in the world she’s created? I mean I like those people too.  So, let’s delve into Bell Haven, a weird little town based in Florida.


The book starts off like most epic YA Paranormal books. The main character believes he/she is a normal teen with popularity issues and a not so great home life and when a tragedy strikes them, they discover their entire life was a lie.  Like I said, starts off easy well, but the way McAtee writes, it’s so much more.  Ember is a normal enough teenage girl.  She lives with her dad, a mean alcoholic, and works part time at a funeral parlor. Okay, so a teen working at a funeral parlor isn’t normal, that might be why she’s not very popular…I don’t really know. Ember would rather spend all her time with the dead than the living and finds solace at the funeral parlor and uses the cemeteries of New Orleans as her own private playground.  We meet Ember on the day of her own father’s funeral.  Instead of mourning him, she is working.  Mr. Miller, her boss basically forces her to attend his burial and take some time off.  This is the catalyst that will change her life forever.

While at her father’s graveside service, Ember begins to feel different, ill.  While trying to get control of herself and not cause a scene, she notices a weird guy lurking around.  Before she can think on it, he’s gone and she mysteriously feels much better.

Meanwhile in the tiny town of Bell Haven, twins Kai and Tristen are having a regular day at school. Well, as regular a day as you can have when you attend a high school full of supernatural beings.   Kai is a reaper….as in Grim and Tristen is a banshee.  Kai notices that he’s up to collect a soul and that soul happens to be his dead cousin.  Tristen without warning lets out a banshee scream, which is crazy because apparently, she hadn’t been able to do it since she was a young child.  So now we have 2 mysteries set up.  Fun Fun.

Turns out that Ember is the soul Kai is supposed to collect and the reason why Tristen screamed for the first time in years.  The cousins reunite while trying to save Ember from meeting her end.  Turns out the mystery guy she saw in the cemetery might want to kill her and since, her name was on Kai’s collection to do list, it seemed obvious to everyone that they should incapacitate Ember’s attacker and abduct her back to Bell Haven, where their guardian Isa can help them figure out what’s going on.

Of course, things aren’t that easy to fix and lot’s of messy, angsty, teen filled supernatural drama awaits you!

I could go on from here but I’m not.  This book has a large cast of characters each with a side story.  It’s also very detailed and the world building is extremely well done.  I don’t feel like I could do it justice….so you’re gonna have to read it yourself!

This book is the first in a series, the second one Dark Dreams and Dead things comes out tomorrow and I’ll have a few words to say about that after it releases 😉 .  I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I haven’t been this obsessed with a series since Cassandra Clare introduced us to Shadowhunters!  The characters made me run the full gamut of emotions.  Happy, Giddy, Sad, Angry, Depressed, Hysterical.  All the guys are my new book boyfriends and the girls are people I wanna hang with…except Tristan, she’s been excluded from my Christmas Card list, for reasons described within the book.

I happily give this book 5 out of 5 stars and will obsess over it the same way I do Supernatural.  My love runs deep and true with this one! It’s YA and fairly clean.  There are53914-Supernatural-fangirling-gif-yP8E normal teen shenanigans and some naughty behavior, but I’d recommend it for the 15 years old and up crowd.  Below are the appropriate stalking links ( I don’t mean physical or illegal stalking either!!! Best behavior people!!!)




2 thoughts on “Book Review: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things by Martina McAtee

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