Book Talk: No Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss

Book Talk: No Parking At The End Times by Bryan BlissNo Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss
Published by Greenwillow Books on January 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Two teens and their parents sell their house and drive cross country with all their belongings across country to follow a doomsday preacher named Brother John. When the end times don’t happen as the preacher said, the family continues to live out of their car since they gave all their money to Brother John and the family is falling apart and fracturing from the bad mistakes and dissent when it comes to what they should do next.

a2*sings It’s The End of the World As We Know it*
(R.E.M was in my head the whole time I read this)

a4No Parking At The End Times was an interesting read for me –I didn’t feel like it really moved me or that I felt much for it but at the same time I hadn’t ever read anything like that and I REALLY loved how Bryan Bliss explored themes like a crisis of faith/religion and homelessness because he did it so well.

1. From page 1 I knew this plot was going to be unlike anything I’ve ever read:  A family is living basically homeless in their van because the parents decide to follow this doomsday preacher who ended up being very wrong about the day that it would happen. It’s evident from very early on that doomsday did not happen like this guy predicted and, like the main character, I’m sitting here going SO WHY ARE WE STILL LISTENING TO THIS GUY? They gave him all their money and they basically thought there would be no WHAT NEXT because they thought they wouldn’t be here on earth anymore. So now, after it doesn’t happen, there is this “what next?” question they are left with because they sold their house and belongings and gave all their money to this guy.

2. The parents in this book = RAGE CITY: Oh man, the parents. I wanted to scream at them as they continue to act like, “NBD let’s just all live in this van together”!! As a reader you are on the same page with the main character, like COME ON WHAT ARE WE STILL DOING HERE WITH THIS PREACHER GUY?? THIS IS A CROCK. But the parents aren’t on the same page. And they keep making some awful decisions. But I was thinking about it, and as FURIOUS as they made me, I almost empathized with them (ALMOST). They left everything and made this decision because they believed it. They never thought there would be anything after that. So now they are left with the “what now?” question. Do they continue to believe this guy even though he was wrong? Do they go home and how because they have no money and no house? And then how do they face everyone who told them this was a bad idea? I think the dad especially just wanted to so badly cling to hope and bought into this guy so much that he was just so blinded to everything.

3. I loved how the main character was forced to explore her faith: The main character grew up as a Christian and knew what she believed in as she actively lived her faith. The family was never into this doomsday, cult-like religion prior to this. As we meet the main character, she is really struggling with her faith after all this happened and now as they are in this situation. She feels betrayed and like this guy has taken advantage of her family. I couldn’t tell whether or not she BOUGHT this stuff with Brother John but I know she had faith before. After all this happens, she’s having a hard time understanding how God would let this happen. She feels doubts she hadn’t really felt before and doesn’t feel connected to her faith in a way she did before. I loved the way Bliss explored this and it felt very  true to the crisis of faith I’ve experienced in my own life but not trying to be preachy/convert people. I

4. I haven’t read many books dealing with homelessness and this book portrayed it in such a raw way: I’ve seen books about homeless teens (and we meet some in this book) but never about a family living together in homelessness. You can feel how uncomfortable and humiliating they feel with living in the van and relying on other people’s good will for food — from the soup kitchens they visited to how they handle brushing their teeth and bathing to parking the van somewhere they can safely sleep. This is all NEW to them and you can see how hard of a transition it is and how sometimes they don’t necessarily feel like they are one of the homeless…until they very much DO. It’s uncomfortable as a reader to see how the parents try to act like this is normal and okay…like it’s a grand adventure. There were these just absolutely raw moments that made my heart ache for them and for all people in their position.

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ plot, themes explored & how well it was done
–  no real emotional connection

Re-readability: Probably not.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it isn’t a fave or one I’d re-read, I’d say no.

a5contemporary YA fans, readers wanting to explore things like homelessness or faith

a8No Parking At The End Times was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever really read in YA. I appreciated how it explored homelessness and a crisis of faith and how it did it WELL. I just wished I had more of an emotional connection overall. That’s where it missed the mark for me personally.

review-on-post-itno-parking-at-the-end-times

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Hey Jamie, I haven’t heard of this one as yet, but I did watch something about a cult last night that really made me sympathize with the characters in this story. Seeing that the parents were really the ones into, it is also made me remember the first season of “The Following”. This cult stuff is pretty deep, and it’s one of those subjects that I really don’t know how to feel about. Like you want to be angry at the people who fall for it, but then you want to sympathize with them because they were taken advantage of by the cult leader. I think I’d have to skip this one, although I am tempted.

    • Ooh I’ve been wanting to watch The Following!

      And yes it was just so frustrating!! Like the dad in this loses his job and I guess he’s just looking for hope or something to focus on and somehow he sees a billboard or something for this Brother John. And like even after the world doesn’t end you FEEL for the characters even though you know they are making BAD decisions to stay bc OBVIOUSLY IT DID NOT HAPPEN AND THIS GUY IS A CROCK. But you empathize because you are like ….you put all your hopes and everything into this being the truth and then it’s NOT…what do you do next?? How do you go back and face everyone who told you that you were making a big mistake by selling your house and all your stuff and giving this pastor all your money??

      I was so angry on the kids’ behalf but I really could empathize to some degree.

  2. The parents sound so frustrating! But it sounds like it explores homelessness in a genuine, honest way. Shame there wasn’t much of an emotional connection, though – I need that in books.

    Thanks for your honest thoughts! Nice review 🙂

    • It really does! And like, I can’t tell if it was a me thing not connecting emotionally because there WAS a lot of things that were emotional IN the book, ya know? It probably is less a fault of the book than just wasn’t what I needed to give it OMG I LOVE THIS kind of review! These are always the hardest reviews to write — because there wasn’t anything WRONG with it, it did lots of things right and kept me reading, but there wasn’t that SPARK of OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE. I feel so much.

  3. I absolutely love the title of this book. My the way, your post-it reviews are an awesome feature.

    • Thank you! I started doing them back in 2011 because I was thinking about how when I give/lend books to friends I always put a post it on it with a message like “OMG TEXT ME WHEN YOU GET TO CHAPTER 62” or “You aren’t going to be able to put this down. SORRY NOT SORRY” so I thought it would be a fun thing…and it stuck and people seemed to appreciate me doing it!

  4. This is only the second time I have seen this book blogged about. I don’t generally read any kind of Contemporary, but if they deal with heavy societal subjects I tend to take an interest. Thanks for the heads up and the review. I am going to add it on Goodreads right now so I don’t forget. 🙂

  5. It’s so strange how books about or relating to the Rapture are becoming this mini-trend in YA. I have to say I probably won’t pick this one up as books about religious themes are never my favorite. BUT I am happy to know I can recommend this one and that it also has an honest and thoughtful treatment of homelessness. Thanks for the review Jamie!

  6. Wow. No Parking in the End Times sounds like a pretty intense read, given the two big issues it tells of – a crisis of faith and homelessness. I get the sense that I would feel uncomfortable while reading this book — and that’s a good thing! Sometimes, it can just be nice to have stories and characters that challenge our ways of thinking or understanding, and I feel like this book might actually do that for me.