February 24, 2015
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Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to 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 doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents 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 with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s 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, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.
I liked Abigail and hearing things form her perspective. She, her twin brother Aaron and their parents left their home in North Carolina behind to travel to San Francisco. They sold all of their worldly possessions and have been living the past weeks in their van, as followers of Brother John.
They came because Brother John promised the end of the world was nigh - and he could help them be saved. Only, the time the world was supposed to end has come and gone. Everyone's still here.
Abigail's brother grows more and more disillusioned (and really, fed up) with their parents, Brother John and their current situation. While, at the same time, their parents - their father, especially - continue to have faith and to defer to Father John. With Abigail feeling torn between them.
Between keeping her faith in God - and in her father and Father John - and agreeing with her brother that their life, living in their van, having no money is a ridiculous choice.
What I did like about No Parking at the End Times was that Abigail and her family were religious prior to everything with Father John and their cross-country pilgrimage. It not only made her family's decision and their beliefs more believable, it led to Abigail's questions, her indecisions.
They were a family - and individuals - that went to church a lot, that went on youth trips and that all worked. It was once things were taken several steps further that it needed to be questioned, that it wasn't okay.
Being religious not only fit the character and the story, it added depth to Abigail's questions and there was more at stake for her than either agreeing with her father or brother.
I wish there had been just a tiny bit more about Father John and his style of worship, all of his promotions and what it accomplished. I can understand that the focus was on Abigail's family and what happened after the world didn't end, but Father John stayed too much of this almost mythical thing their father seemed to have absolute faith in. Seeing more of that side of things, of that character would have been nice.
thank you to the publisher for my copy of the book to review