If I had to sum No Parking at the End Times up with one word, that word would be BORING. I was very intrigued by the premise – books about cult religion and how it affects those within it are almost always worth a read – but this novel portrayed very little about the cult itself, and more about the family it affected. And I would have been fine reading about this family if there was anything interesting about them at all.
The voice of the story is Abigail, a teenage girl who along with her twin brother Aaron has been whisked away from her North Carolina home by her parents to worship in California at the feet of Brother John. Brother John has proclaimed that the world will be coming to an end, but of course, this does not happen. What does happen is that Abigail’s family is forced to live in their van in California, because her parents sold everything else they owned to give to the church.
Abigail, as a main character, has a distinct lack of personality. Her whole life is basically centered around Aaron, and trying to make sure he is keeping out of trouble. At least Aaron is mad, and at least he is trying to do something about their situation. All the reader really knows about Abigail is that she likes to run. Even in flashbacks to their life before moving, we don’t see anything of Abigail enjoying her life or having any friends of her own. I understand that she is an introvert, but she seems to shun getting to know anyone else besides her family.
There is actually no real conflict in the novel. Abigail and Aaron don’t yell or get into fights with their parents, and most of the time their parents kind of seem to forget they exist. Even the introduction of Aaron’s street kid friends couldn’t make events more interesting, because all the kids seem to be stereotypical, down to their sad stories and “wild” personalities. A sort of villain affects the kids very late in the story, but even this is rather glossed over and the effects of his actions are very predictable.
I just couldn’t form any sort of connection with any of these characters, and that is unfortunate because the beginning of the book offered a bit of promise. It just didn’t deliver on the potential of the synopsis.
Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.