Teen Pick of the Month: Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
By Preston Norton

Grades 10-12
410 pages

There are three rules of high school inscribed on the fabric of the universe: 

  1. 1. It’s all BS. 

  1. 2. People suck. 

  1. 3. Fists speak louder than words. 

At least those are the rules that Neanderthal lives by since his older brother, Shane, committed suicide. 

Neanderthal is 16 years old and he is a big guy. 

He stands 6 feet and 6 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds, that’s a quarter of a thousand pounds. 

His real name isn’t Neanderthal, it’s actually Clifford Hubbard but no one at Happy Valley High School calls him by that name because no one actually likes him. 

Clifford doesn’t like them either and he especially doesn’t like the movie star handsome quarterback and bully, Aaron Zimmerman.   

Aaron is his number one enemy; not because he is the worst person but because things always work out for him and he always gets away with everything. He is the opposite of Clifford in almost every way and Clifford hates him. 

One otherwise unremarkable day, Aaron gets in a boating accident which almost kills him and sends him into a coma.  When Aaron wakes up he starts following Clifford around and spouting nonsense. 

“I saw Morgan Freeman,” he says, “except Morgan Freeman said he was God.  He gave me a list of stuff to do to fix this school, so it doesn’t suck. God said there was only one person who could help me with the list.  Neanderthal.” 

For some reason, instead of punching Aaron in the face, which is what he would usually do, Clifford decides to help with the list. 

But there is more to Aaron’s list than it first appears and it leads Clifford to a place he wouldn’t have imagined in Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe.

Check out other great booklists and the past Teen Pick of the Month selections.

Teens Read Pick of the Month


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