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Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,119 ratings  ·  557 reviews
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
Hardcover, 410 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
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Popular Answered Questions
Mekhia No, not between Aaron and Cliff. But keep reading you’ll find enough romance elsewhere.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Luanne I think it was Shane. Lacey didn't know Shane well enough to fake that note. She may have found the note when she enlarged the hole. Remember, the hoo…moreI think it was Shane. Lacey didn't know Shane well enough to fake that note. She may have found the note when she enlarged the hole. Remember, the hoodie had a hole when Cliff first got it.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  2,119 ratings  ·  557 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Eff me, this book!!!!!! I loved it so damn much!! I freaking ordered another book by the author and I hope it’s as good as this one! Kudos to Preston Norton for making my somewhat crappy day AWESOME!

George Redhawk

I laughed and cried through the whole book!! One of my favorite go to books now!!

Laugh. Cry. Rinse. Repeat.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Larry H
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"You know what the most dystopian idea in the world is to me?" I asked. "The idea that our feelings don't matter. We might as well be robots."

Since his older brother died, Cliff Hubbard has been alone. He has no friends in high school, but he can't sneak through undetected, since he's 6'6" and weighs 250 pounds. He couldn't be any more noticeable; his classmates have bestowed upon him the nickname "Neanderthal." They ridicule him and mock his size, his appetite, his appearance, his loneliness.

Irena BookDustMagic
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Warning: This novel contains strong language and touches the topic of suicide.

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe is the one novel I feel like I had on my kindle app for the longest time. I got it unsolicited from the publisher (which I’m very thankful for) way before it was published, and then at first I saved it so I could read it closer to it’s releasing day, but then life got in a way, I hit that blogging and reviewing slump, and this book was one of the victims of the mental state I
Labels, the bane of high school existence. Cliff knows, because he is called Neanderthal, for his size, his demeanor and because he isn’t that popular jock, he is just a kid trying to get by, trying to overcome the sadness of his brother’s suicide. It was easy for him to hate Aaron Zimmerman, handsome, athletic, rich and popular, as well as brutally unkind to Cliff, that is until Aaron has a near-death experience where he saw God and God had a mission for him. That mission would involve Cliff an ...more
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

My thoughts are somewhat mixed regarding this book. I really had no trouble reading it and did enjoy the story but it was missing that extra spark that it would have needed to make it great. It was a book that was pretty easy to set aside because I never felt completely invested in the story. There were a lot of issues address in this story and in some ways it felt like nothing went beyond the surface level. I did find the book enter
This book was pitched to me and I loved the synopsis and cover, but somehow it got buried. When I finally found it and got around to reading it, I was angry that I had waited so long.

I love love loved Cliff. He’s so weary and tired of dealing with all of the bs life has dealt him. And yet, he hasn’t given up. He’s hopeful. His inner monologue is absolutely hysterical and had me actually laughing out loud. There are a core group of other characters who are fantastic, but this story is all about
Paula M
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
EVERY BIT OF PERFECT!!!! Full review will be posted. Expect nothing but praise.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ever read one of those books where you’re only halfway through, but you already want to tell everyone you know to read it? But you can’t at that exact moment in time because you’ve got tears pouring down your face and you can’t find the Kleenex and everyone will want to know if you’re okay?

This is that book.

It’s honest, irreverent, sweet, funny, incredibly sad, and still hopeful.

Some of the characters curse a mile a minute. Some do drugs. You have homophobia, intolerance, and even parental abus
Lauren Stoolfire
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cliff is a 6'6" and 250 pound loser, in fact his nickname at school is Neanderthal. He has no one in his corner and everything has gone bad to worse since his older brother's suicide last year. Cliff can't stand the star quarterback, Aaron. When Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience, he says that he saw God when he was out of it. The real kicker is that God gave Aaron a to-do list to make Happy Valley High suck les
Mrs. Europaea
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this, I wanted to like it so much that I forced myself to finish this even though by page 60 I was beyond ready to call it quits BUT I kept thinking that Norton would surprise me at some point making my determination worth it. I was wrong.

What is there to say? Aside from Cliff's size, he had no interesting qualities which is disappointing considering he is the main character. His relationship with Aaron was completely absurd, even if you attempted to suspend all rational
Jes Reads
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“There are three rules to high school irrevocably inscribed within the interstellar fabric of the universe. Rule number one: it’s all bullshit. Now before you go thinking I’m some angsty little teenage shit, you should know that I’m not little. In fact, I’m a behemoth. Sixteen years old and somehow miraculously shattering the 250-pound barrier. Holy crap, you say. Get the hell out of town, you say. You think that’s nuts? Let me rephrase it for you: I’m a quarter of a thousand pounds.”

Welcome ba
Carol Storm
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
There were some good things about this book -- some of the humor was outrageously funny and there are a few minor characters who are pretty interesting.

But it was a classic case of an author trying to do too much and indulging in too many pet peeves. You can't write a story that brings up raw and controversial issues -- teen suicide, domestic abuse, bullying, drugs and sex, and then retreat every few pages into silly jokes about super hero comics, computer geeks, and bad science fiction movies
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-hug
fan f*#@ingtastic

loved. every. single. minute. of. this. book
Entrada Book Review
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe is just as unconventional as the name.

The book follows all around self-proclaimed loser Cliff Hubbard through a montage of terrible experiences to set up the tragic backstory and get the reader ready for the revelation.

Aaron Zimmerman has seen God in a near death experience and has transformed from all out ***hole into wanting to fix Happy Valley High School with THE LIST.

The plot is interesting but with so much drug use, sex, and the F-word proclaimed
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-favorites
4.5/5 stars. Okay so I’m not going to lie: for the first 1/3 of this book I genuinely thought it would be about a 3 or 3.5 star read. But oh, I now stand corrected. Neanderthal is easily the funniest book I have read in a very long time. And even though this is a laugh-out-loud type of book, it handles extremely important and sensitive topics so beautifully and you can’t help but admire how it tackles those topics in a way that conveys how serious they are but also keeps the story from getting t ...more
Warning: NOT suitable for my seventh-grade followers. But HOLY CANOLI. This book had everything I want in a young-adult-high-school-experience-address-all-of-the-angst novel. I don't think I've ever laughed so much reading a work of fiction, nor have I ever felt so much "YES. THAT." in reading about a true existential quandary from a teen perspective. A novel about hurt, and healing, and God, and "God?", and first love, and nerd debates cranked up to eleven... this book is so much YES.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book had the most “out there” premise of all the books I had read so far , so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started reading but I guess that is the point of reading these books (to shake us out of our literature comfort zone) ...and I have to say that I did end up liking this book a lot . Starting with the main character, all the other minor characters and the wouldn’t think so but it all come together almost perfect and you realize this book is a gem t ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Cliff aka Neanderthal is just trying to make it through high school and grieving the loss of his brother, while a constant victim of bullying and parental abuse, drowned in toxic masculinity at every turn. That is until he winds up on a mission from god, bringing together an unlikely ragtag band in the process of trying to make the school a better place. Much like my recent read of
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, this tackles some really hard topics like suicide, abuse, coming out, drug addi
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book does one of my favorite things, where everything starts bad and gets better. It also had characters who were just impulsively likeable, from the main character to the supporting characters to little one-line characters. I really was rooting for everyone, and it was a nice change of pace. The subject matter can be heavy, but it never feels like a dark book. And the dialogue is very fantastic.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Clifford is a high school student who is used to being on the outs. At 6'6 and 250 lbs, he is a giant of a teen. He lives with his hard working mother and physically abusive father in a very small house. In school he is often ignored and picked on and has been given the nickname "Neanderthal." One day, a bully named Aaron who often picks on Cliff gets a head injury and thinks he has seen God. He has a list of tasks that he has to complete and decides to enlist Cliff to assist him. From there, we ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
I should have enjoyed this book more than I did. Loved it at the beginning and then it just began to grate on me. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for it.
Camden Johnson
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best YA book I’ve read in a very long time. Norton knows how to write snarky teenage dialog and his characters seemed real and likable. Interesting that the book is set in Montana but it really can be Anywhere, USA. More than fixing what was wrong at school, this was about kids growing as individuals and being more invested in those around them and not just themselves.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so wonderful and unique I'm not sure how to do it justice in a review. I don't know how the author managed it, but the topics of suicide, bullying, loss, depression, and more are dealt with both honestly and outrageously in a hilarious manner. There is an actual mission from God in here guys. Think more Blues Brothers than Sunday school style. Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-goodness, arcs, rtc
I'm a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this -- Cliff's voice is great, and the breakneck pacing of the story and the lives therein is compelling and, against all odds, seems realistic. Alternately fun and very compelling.

Thanks to Disney Book Group and NetGalley for the ARC.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was hesitant to read because of the title (LIKE A FOOL). But I fell very hard for this book. While the path it takes feels very familiar to me, it is a story I've never read before with characters I was easily drawn to. I am inspired and invigorated and more alive at its end. (and maybe I'll watch 2001: A Space Odyssey... Maybe)
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2018

This one delivered all the punches, they all connected. I probably cried in some places.

Read more from The Page Walker.
Kathy Martin
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
NEANDERTHAL OPENS THE DOOR TO THE UNIVERSE was an engaging story about a young man finding some purpose in his life. Cliff Hubbard - called "Neanderthal" by the other students at school because he's 6' 6" tall and weighs 250 pounds - has been lost since his older brother Shane's suicide nearly a year ago. He's angry and uninvolved beyond hating everything and everyone at his school. His home life is also falling apart as his unemployed drunk father is taking out his anger on Neanderthal and his ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Preston Norton's newest book, Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe, releases Tuesday June 5/18.

Now, you might be saying to yourself - with a title like that, what could this book possibly be about? No, it's not a time travelling cave man. Instead, we meet high school student Cliff Hubbard, AKA Neanderthal, based on his 6'6", 250 lb. frame. Neanderthal is not one of the popular kids at Happy Valley High School. And he's not happy - his brother committed suicide, his father is an alcoholic a
*I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*
Honestly.... I'm blown away right now.

I requested this book, but by the time it came for me to read I was uneasy about reading it. I'm so glad I bit the bullet because I blew through this book and laughed my ass off at some points.

At first, the book was difficult for me to read because Cliff is going through such a rough patch in his life. His brother committed suicide, people at school make fun of him constant
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Author of NEANDERTHAL OPENS THE DOOR TO THE UNIVERSE & WHERE I END AND YOU BEGIN (June 2019). Repped by Jenny Bent. Probably having an existential crisis. ...more

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