Kid’s Book Review: This Can Never Not Be Real

Kid’s Book Review: This Can Never Not Be Real

About the Book and Author

This is a thriller for young adult readers by Sera Milano that comes with warnings about content as it describes a a relentless terrorist attack on a group of partying teenagers at a rural music festival.

The descriptions of the victims’ fear and the violence are vivid, but there is a beauty to the selfless concern the teenagers have for the people who are living in the same nightmare, and reading about the strong bonds of friendship that grow from their shared experience is rewarding for the reader. Ellie, Joe, Peaches, March and Violet each describe how they tried to stay alive whilst being attacked and are coping with the aftermath of the trauma.

In the words of Electric Monkey the publishers, “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.”

You can read a Q&A with the author about this book on her website.

This Can Never Not Be Real
Sera Milano author

Sera Milano has previously written two Kirkus-starred LGBTQ+ comic novels for younger readers, Boy Meets Hamster and Boy Meets Ghoul, under the name Birdie Milano. She earned a first-class honours degree in creative writing from St Mary’s University, London, and a MA with distinction in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, where she won the 2015 United Agents Prize for Most Promising Writing for Young People.

This Can Never Not Be Real is her first young adult novel.

She has written on the importance of LGBTQ representation in fiction for young people for the Daily Express.

Book Review

Even when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about it

This Can Never Not Be Real was a very fast paced book, it had so much action and there never seemed to be a good place to put it down. Despite this, it was harrowing, and Milano created very real characters. It took me a while to connect with and distinguish between characters because the book is very action driven and at times, I did confuse the stories of each person.

As well as this the way the book is written means that each character narrates their story in very short paragraphs, sometimes only a sentence long. However, by the last 75 pages or so they felt much more established and the ending of the novel invoked many emotions in me and I felt very invested in the characters.

I think the choice to focus on those trying to survive the event instead of the attackers, their motive and the wider effects was very interesting, and it was something I hadn’t seen in any other book. I think this choice was really good for connecting with the events, and I felt very absorbed into the story.

Even when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about it, and it was an interesting, emotive novel. That being said, it deals with multiple very heavy topics and I would definitely recommend looking up trigger warnings if you’re worried about the content.

If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

Or, you can shop on-line and support our Kids Reviews page by sourcing your discounted book via this link

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Young Reviewer Martha
  • Name: Martha
  • Age: 14 years
  • Likes: Mamma Mia, running and reading
  • Dislikes: physics and tomatoes
  • Favourite Book: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  • Favourite Song: Something Great by One Direction
  • Favourite Film: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!