Review - Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe by Preston Norton

Freitag, 11. Mai 2018

Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe by Preston Norton
Published: May 22nd 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   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. (

* Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing me with 
an eARC in exchange for my honest review *

   Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe is a marvelous read about grief, friendships, the struggles of high school and the ups and downs of life narrated with an authentic sounding teenage voice filled with pop culture references, funny but also heartfelt, thoughtful moments.

   Cliff and Aaron are fascinating and multi-faceted characters and their friendship was crazy and unique from beginning to end. Their conversations and the situations they get into together are hilarious but also scary at times, but luckily everything works itself out in the end, even if the way there is filled with twists and doubts. Their relationships with the other characters were interesting and watching them evolve over time was amazing. Cliff and Tegan were great together, the nerd squad with their love of all things geeky and debates about Apple were brilliant but also so true to life, Aaron and Lacy definitely had a lot of issues they certainly needed to work through but watching it all slowly happen over the course of the book was great. Nothing felt rushed or forced or unrealistic.

   As previously mentioned the voice of the narrator, being Cliff, was incredibly on point and perfectly represented a sixteen year old boy's thoughts and reasonings. They were a bit weird and wtf inducing at times, but that's how teenagers are, not every decision they make is perfect, or even reasonable at times. Honestly I loved Cliff as narrator and seeing him slowly grow, evolve, learn and change across the story was amazing, his character arc perfectly and realistically paced.

   I can easily say that Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe was one of my favorite 2018 releases and I'm really happy I got a chance to read it way earlier. It's one of those contemporary stories that, upon first glance, seem silly or just plain dumb, like some sort of comedy no one will take serious, but this story is so much more than that. I highly recommend it.
I give Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe by Preston Norton 5 out of 5 stars.

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