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This Can Never Not Be Real – Sera Milano

Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book 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.

Trigger Warnings: Terrorism, death, suicide, parental death, blood graphic injuries, internalised fatphobia and brief discussions of mircoaggressions and islamophobia.

This book landed in my letterbox as a surprise one evening and by the next evening I had read the entire thing. This book grips you right from the beginning and has a tight grip on you the entire time. I will not be forgetting about this book in a very long time.

Right from the start, this book is all consuming as we follow a number of characters throughout a harrowing terrorist attack. The characters in this book make up an unlikely group of friends. You have, the seemingly perfect popular girl, the outsider with a love of theatre, the burnout slacker, the quiet girl who just sinks into the background and the smart one.

I was a huge fan of the way the different narratives of each character are told across the book. Each voice of the characters is so distinctive but at the same time the author does an incredible job of blending all the narratives with each other. Put all this together and you get a book that you just cannot take your mind off or put down.

I do not want to reveal much about the plot of the book in this review as I feel it is a book that you need to just be in the moment for and fins out about all the things happening yourself. But, I will say that Sera Milano takes an interesting perspective by focusing on the survivors of the attack as oppose to the perpetrators. The authors note at the back of the book explains this in a lot more detail. I enjoyed this perspective as it focuses on those who live and continue to hope as oppose to those who spread hate and violence.

The writing of this book is beautiful, heart-breaking and keeps you on edge at all times. We see the peril and jeopardy that the customers are facing and seeing how it can bring people together. There are a couple of romance storylines that run throughout this book which arise from the trauma the characters are facing. These do not take away from the main storyline though. My favourite of the romantic storylines was the one we see being two of the LGBTQ+ characters.

This book is a must read for fans of pacy thriller and I cannot wait to see what Sera Milano produces in the future. It is spectacular, heart-breaking, heart-warming and thrilling. It is a book that is perfect to read in a couple of sittings and it is incredible. 

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