Thursday, February 19, 2015

ARC Review: No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

No Parking at the End Times
Author: Bryan Bliss
Publication: Greenwillow Books (February 24, 2015)

Description: Abigail's parents believed the world was going to end. And—of course—it didn't. But they've lost everything anyway. And she must decide: does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail's parents never should have made that first donation to that end-of-times preacher. Or the next, or the next. They shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there for the "end of the world." Because now they're living in their van. And Aaron is full of anger, disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right.

But maybe it's too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss's thoughtful debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

My Thoughts: This is a story about a sixteen-year old girl named Abigail. Abigail's parents sold everything they owned in South Carolina, packed a van, packed Abigail and her twin Aaron, and headed to San Francisco following the call of a preacher named Brother John who is preaching the end of the world. Their father is the most fervent in his support of Brother John. He didn't lose faith when the world didn't end as Brother John predicted.

The family is living in the van and going from church to church for their meals. Aaron has lost faith both in Brother John and his parents and has begun sneaking out at night to hang out with other homeless kids. Abigail is torn between her parents' beliefs and her brother. She tries to be a good kid but she misses home and a more settled life and she is rapidly losing her faith in God.

The final straw for her comes when her brother runs off, the van is towed, and her father gives money that a church donated to them to Brother John. Her parents don't make any effort to find Aaron, so she runs off to find her brother. She learns that, as bad as it is for her and her family, it is even worse for many of the other homeless kids. Aaron has met a girl named Jess who has been homeless for three years. Jess and Aaron have also run afoul of another homeless guy who has something on Jess.

This book was very well-written and brings up lots of points for discussion - faith vs. fanaticism, parental responsibilities. I can't wait to talk about this one with my students.

Favorite Quote:
I can't bring myself to tell him that Mom and Dad did nothing when he left. They sat in the church, praying—asking God to do something when every moment of the past week should've told them that number was disconnected. And while I'm sure they're worried—Mom is probably sick with it—I know they didn't call the police when they found me gone this morning. The only thing they're doing right now is staring at the ceiling and hoping whatever magic they believe in will still change the world.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.


  1. I saw this book on another blog and wasn't too sure about it, but now that I've read your review I am pretty sure this is one that I want to read! Abigail's voice in that quote is really strong and it's just such a different topic! Yup, you convinced me :D Thanks for the review!
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  2. This sounds like a powerful story. I'm definitely adding to my wish list now. Fantastic review!


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