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.
Razor sharp, moving, and outrageously funny, Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe is an unforgettable story of finding your place in an imperfect world.
About the Author
Preston Norton is: bisexual, slightly genderqueer, married. His partner, Erin, is trying to put him on a diet, and he's revolting (both contexts apply). He has taught seventh grade and ninth grade English, mentored drug addicts, and mowed lawns (in no particular order). He is obsessed with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Quentin Tarantino.
"Cliff... is intelligent and vulgar in equal measure in this story about belief both transcendental and intimate... With a number of references any cinephile would appreciate, the cleverly plotted novel attests that discovering meaning anywhere or with anyone is invaluable."—BCCB
"Preston Norton brings an exciting, sharp voice to YA. NEANDERTHAL is both heartbreaking and hopeful."—Goldy Moldavsky, New York Times bestselling author of Kill the Boy Band
"The book... cogently explores large issues that plague and perplex teens... Will appeal to teens who are, themselves, seeking doors to the universe."—Booklist (starred review)
"Touching, funny, and utterly unforgettable."—Robyn Schneider, author of The Beginning of Everything
*"Funny and sweetly oddball book... 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."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)