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I Belong

Review: No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

No Parking at the End TimesTitleNo Parking at the End Times

AuthorBryan Bliss

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062275410 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062275417 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: A quick, easy read about a struggling family that has given everything up to a ridiculous cause.

Opening Sentence: Dad borrowed Uncle Jake’s jeep because he said he liked to feel the mountain air.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Abigail’s father first connected with Brother John when he was recently fired. Whether he heard a sermon on the radio, saw one of the billboards, it doesn’t matter – that was the first step towards everything going to hell. Brother John preached about the end of the world, the death of all life on earth, and her father kept making donations until they were deep in debt. Suddenly, Abigail and her brother Aaron are forced to sell their house and move across the country to San Francisco, where they live in their van, going to the Brother John’s church every night and singing about God’s plan.

The world didn’t end, of course. Life went on. But since Abigail’s parents weren’t prepared for life to go on, they are out of money. They skip from food kitchen to food kitchen, sleeping in their van, visiting the church nightly. Any money they do come across goes straight to Brother John, despite his obvious failure at depicting the end of the world. And although the only thing that Abigail wants is to leave this city, her father is in too deep. Aaron, her moody brother, has a plan that may get her out, but it would involve betraying her parents and leaving her family. Are the people who made so many mistakes still important enough to deserve loyalty?

I enjoyed Abigail’s character, for the most part. She’s illustrated as the good child, the responsible one, the loving one. But even her more innocent eyes can still see how badly her parents have destroyed their lives. As time goes on, her character develops into something that has more of a spine. She’s forced to grow up so fast, in this horrible situation. Aaron, her brother, sometimes annoyed me in his rudeness and moods – but despite his shortcomings, he was an interesting character, and added more depth to the story.

“They sat in the church, praying – asking God to do something when every moment of the past week should have told them that number was disconnected.”

Her parents were the oldest of the family, and yet in a way they were the least wise. They had let themselves be sucked into this religion that clearly had taken everything from them. One thing I wish that had happened was a scene that told us whether or not Brother John was a con artist. I mean, clearly he was preaching a made-up religion and wasn’t qualified, but was he actually a believer in the nonsense he spouted or did he know exactly what he was doing, taking everything from his followers?

Altogether, this book was a good enough read. It was super short, and I liked the different aspects of family and friendship that it explored. There wasn’t a love interest for our main character/point of view Abigail, but there was a romance between her brother and another homeless girl. I almost liked it better that way – Abigail was focused less on a boy and more on her more important situation. I think that people will be interested by this book and enjoy it. I thought it was okay!

Notable Scene:

Before I can apologize, the bike manager curses and says, “I’m so tired of all you homeless kids. Is it possible for me to rent bikes and not have you sit up here all day jerking off? Is that possible?”

“I’m not homeless,” I say, shocked.

“Yeah, of course you’re not,” the man says. “Just get out of here or I’ll call the cops on you, too.”


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen/Greenwillow Books provided me with a copy of No Parking at the End Times. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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