Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      American Library Association
    • Publication Date:
    • Abstract:
      * Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. By Preston Norton. May 2018. 400p. Hyperion, $17.99 (9781484790625); e-book, $17.99 (9781484798393). Gr. 9-12. At six feet six and 250 pounds, self-hating [...]
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    • Rights:
      Copyright 2018 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
      COPYRIGHT 2018 American Library Association
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  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      CART, M. Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. Booklist, [s. l.], n. 17, p. 76, 2018. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 26 maio. 2019.
    • AMA:
      Cart M. Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. Booklist. 2018;(17):76. Accessed May 26, 2019.
    • APA:
      Cart, M. (2018). Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. Booklist, (17), 76. Retrieved from
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Cart, Michael. 2018. “Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe.” Booklist.
    • Harvard:
      Cart, M. (2018) ‘Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe’, Booklist, p. 76. Available at: (Accessed: 26 May 2019).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Cart, M 2018, ‘Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe’, Booklist, no. 17, p. 76, viewed 26 May 2019, .
    • MLA:
      Cart, Michael. “Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe.” Booklist, no. 17, 2018, p. 76. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Cart, Michael. “Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe.” Booklist, 2018.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Cart M. Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. Booklist [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 May 26];(17):76. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2018 May #1

*Starred Review* At six feet six and 250 pounds, self-hating 16-year-old Cliff is cruelly called "Neanderthal" by his bête noire, a golden boy named Aaron. When Aaron is injured in an accident, he goes into a coma from which he awakens to claim he has seen God, who has given him a list of five things he must do to improve life at Happy Valley High School. The kicker is that he must do them in concert with a highly dubious Cliff, who reluctantly goes along and slowly becomes Aaron's friend. Cliff's best friend, however, was his older brother, Shane, who killed himself a year earlier—but not before insisting that Cliff watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, focusing on the Monolith, which Shane claimed was the Door of Life. Cliff, he said, must find out what is on the other side. Meanwhile, one of the more difficult tasks Aaron and Cliff must complete is to get repentance from the JTs, a group of self-righteous Christian students who make life miserable for Noah, the only openly gay student at HVHS. There is much more going on in the crowded but compelling narrative. Ambitious almost to a fault, the book nevertheless cogently explores large issues that plague and perplex teens. Though occasionally it suffers from hints of contrivance, overall the novel will appeal to all teens who are, themselves, seeking doors to the universe. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Spring

At six feet, six inches tall and two hundred and fifty pounds, Cliff Hubbard's cruel school nickname is "Neanderthal." At home, his hateful dad continues the bullying, and Cliff blames himself for his brother's recent suicide. Then quarterback Aaron has a near-death experience and God commands him to enlist Cliff's help to improve their school. Sixteen-year-old Cliff's expletive-filled, sharply funny, and bittersweet coming-of-age narrative is completely captivating. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

PW Reviews 2018 March #2

What if someone told you he was on a mission from God and you had to help him? What if that someone was the star quarterback and part-time bully at your high school, a guy who routinely calls you Neanderthal? That's exactly what happens to 16-year-old Cliff Hubbard, and Norton (Marrow) takes this unlikely premise, loads it with even more unlikely events, and makes it work in this funny and sweetly oddball book. Cliff, who is huge—250 pounds and 6'5"—has been angry since his brother committed suicide. But when the quarterback, named Aaron, returns from a near-death experience with a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High School happier—which includes getting rid of bullies like him, drug dealers, and the sanctimonious Christian students who think they're better than everyone else—Cliff signs on. Their utter cluelessness notwithstanding, the two make inroads on the list, improving not just their high school but themselves, and even finding love along the way. At the story's core is an unsentimental treatment of a bullied kid and his one-time bully discovering their commonalities. That Norton accomplishes this without moralizing and in inventively rhythmic and pop-culture–saturated language only adds to the fun. Ages 14–18. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (June)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.