Book Review

This Can Never Not Be Real – Sera Milano

Today, I am reviewing This Can Never Not Be Real by Sera Milano. Many thanks to Sera and Farshore for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.



A compelling, thrilling yet heartbreaking book for fans of Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Jennifer Niven and Holly Jackson.

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, told from multiple perspectives, as the attackers prowl the festival grounds.

A book for anyone who needs to see that behind the hate that makes the headlines, there is always love.



Being the age I am, terror attacks have always been there on the periphery, atrocities you hear about on the news but that could never happen where I live. The thing is, where I live is exactly like Amberside, and it could happen here. As I read This Can Never Not Be Real, this was a very sobering thought that stayed with me throughout.

Writing in the style of testimonials and witness statements, Sera Milano gives real insight into each character and captures the all encompassing terror that each of them was feeling. Being inside each character’s head instead of watching from a distance made my heart beat faster and my body tense.  The short snippets of testimony from each person make this a fast read and add to the feeling of panic and chaos – just a few sentences and then you are with someone else in another part of the attack.

I was so immersed in this book that every time the real world dragged me out of the pages, it took a few moments for me to relax. It is a harrowing read that left me mentally exhausted and emotionally drained. It has been a long time since a book got under my skin like This Can Never Not Be Real did, and it is a book that I will never forget.

This isn’t a story glorifying the violence of terrorism, or of the heroic acts of one person saving countless others and overpowering the terrorists. It is simply a story of people doing what they can to just survive.


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