Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton
• June 5, 2018 • Disney-Hyperion
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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 nobody 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 received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
First sentence: “There are three rules to high school irrevocably inscribed within the interstellar fabric of the universe.”
So, the neanderthal and the football star—two unlikely students—have a mission.
It begins with a list—a list from God delivered by the formerly comatosed football star and all-around popular guy Aaron Zimmerman—that said to recruit Cliff Hubbard, the Neanderthal outcast, on a divine mission to save Happy Valley High School from sucking. And boy, does it really suck at this high school.
This is far from a religious book, but when you have a near-death experience, you’re gonna see God. When you get a list from God, you do it, but these boys learn that these things they are supposed to do will change their whole purpose and understanding of who they are and the world around them.
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