Review: This Can Never Not Be Real

On its publication date, I want to talk about the heart-stopping This Can Never Not Be Real by Sera Milano. Thank you so much to Electric Monkey and Farshore for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


In the unremarkable town of Amberside, the unthinkable has happened: Terrorists have attacked a local festival. No one knows why, and no one knows who the attackers are, but that doesn’t matter. What matters first is survival. And what matters after that is survival, too.

In this brilliantly written account of hope, humour and humanity, five ordinary teenagers are caught up in a truly extraordinary situation. It’s a heart-pounding and gripping account of the fight for survival as the attackers prowl the festival grounds, told from multiple perspectives.

This is a book for teenagers facing the barrage of bleak reports that fill our newsfeeds and for anyone who needs to see that behind the hate that makes the headlines, there is always love.


Waterstones | Goodreads

TW: terrorist attack, blood, death, shooting, murder, bombing, violence, graphic description of injury, using a car as weapon – full list can be found here


My Thoughts:

This Can Never Not Be Real is one of those books that just will not leave your head. Since finishing it, the characters have stayed with me. Simply put, I cannot stop thinking about this book.

This is a truly claustrophobic, heart-racing and gripping book unlike any you’ve read before. I read this in one sitting as I was simply unable to look away from the devastating, heart-wrenching and all too real events on the page. Throughout, my heart was constantly pounding as the horror unfolded. The scariest part of this book is that it is so rooted in real life events. This kind of thing can and does unfortunately occur. Milano creates such a tight, tense atmosphere that grabs you by the throat the entire way through the book. You cannot tear yourself away from the pages, there’s a sense of needing to know how it all unfolds. 

At its core, the light in the book comes from our cast of three-dimensional, flawed and fractured characters. They all have such distinct voices and watching the events unfold from their various perspectives adds new layers into the story. The points at which their tales intersect make for compulsive reading and the inclusion of wider perspectives reminds you of the scale of destruction being wrecked. All at once, you can see the smaller, claustrophobic picture of the setting of the attack and the wider picture of the further ramifications it is having on the surrounding area. You find yourself deeply rooting for every character, as their summer evening turns into a nightmarish fight for survival. They grow as people over the course of those terrifying hours, brought together by tragedy and the animalistic instinct to survive. 

This Can Never Not Be Real is a pulse-pounding, totally gripping book that never releases its vice-like hold over the reader. It’s packed full of heart and brilliant characters, as they face the unthinkable but all too real horrors.

4 thoughts on “Review: This Can Never Not Be Real

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