The Blonde Bookworm: Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton -- Review

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton -- Review

Monday, October 8, 2018

Title: Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
Author: Preston Norton
Pages: 410
Publishing: May 22nd 2018 by Disney-Hyperion


Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser. Literally. His nickname at Happy Valley High School is Neanderthal because he's so enormous-6'6" and 250 pounds to be exact. He has no one at school and life in his trailer park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother's suicide.

There's no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback, Aaron Zimmerman. Then Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there's only one person who can help: Neanderthal.

To his own surprise, Cliff says he's in. As he and Aaron make their way through the List, which involves a vindictive English teacher, a mysterious computer hacker, a decidedly unchristian cult of Jesus Teens, the local drug dealers, and the meanest bully at HVHS--Cliff feels like he's part of something for the first time since losing his brother. But fixing a broken school isn't as simple as it seems, and just when Cliff thinks they've completed the List, he realizes their mission hits closer to home than he ever imagined.


I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started this novel, but I'm so glad I picked it up. It seemed like modern day Breakfast Club with a twist and I loved it. It was quirky, fun, and it hit on a lot of delicate topics. Norton handled those topics well and I really enjoyed the strength that each of his characters showed. 

I think the characters wee what really made this novel stand out. Cliff was an incredibly memorable character and I found myself relating to him and being truly heartbroken by his circumstances. I kept feeling like I just wanted to reach inside the book and give him a hug. I was moved by this novel and it will be one that sticks with me for quiet some time. I would highly recommend this novel if you are a fan of contemporary YA reads. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 


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