Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton is one of the best books I’ve read all year. And yet I’ve been putting off writing this review for far too long for one very silly (or maybe not-so-silly) reason … I can’t figure out how to adequately explain how much I loved this book, and why it’s so amazing.

So here’s my mini-review attempt to do so …

I loved this book, and it’s so amazing!

Well, crap. That didn’t go how I imagined.

Here’s the deal: this book is filled with fabulous characters, a captivating and surprising plot, and heartfelt, meaningful messages. Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe is an unexpected delight. It’s irreverent and funny and it also packs an emotional punch. It touches on so many topics that teens (and adult) face on a daily basis, and tackles them in a way that is both realistic and hopeful.

It’s got heart, humor, romance, pluck, and guts. Look for it in stores now.

Here is the official synopsis:

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.

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