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.
When I had finished This Can Never Not Be Real I’m not afraid to admit I sat down and cried. I’m not entirely sure which part of the multi layered narrative finally broke me but I was a wreck of a person at the end.
This novel follows a group of young people caught up in a heinous and unexpected attack, cut off from safety and help, thrown together in a struggle for survival that feels eternal. Sera Milano is a purely brilliant writer, in her grasp of character, her ability to set a scene and to tell a story with the immersive feel of absolute reality. You live it.
This is not a thriller this is a human story that celebrates in the end the beauty of triumph over adversity, yet acknowledges that this triumph ends up as a life goal, it doesn’t end once safety is achieved it simply morphs into something new..
Through the eyes of Ellie, Violet, Joe, Peaches and March we see things unfold in vivid clarity, the violence is in tune with, but on the periphery of ,their story. As intense relationships form, as love and loss play out in front of them, as the smallest of decisions take on the complexity of the hardest maths problems, you will be utterly hooked. This is a gripping, intense and emotionally wrenching narrative that never loses focus on the things that ultimately make us human.
This might be a novel for young adults but it is a story for us all and certainly as an adult it really resonated with me. This is not a story about the bad guys this is a story of hope and love in the face of unbelievable danger and even though it made me cry I loved it and it has gone straight onto my books of the year list.