Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton - OPTIONAL

Norton, Preston Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe, 400 pages.  Disney, MAY 2018.  $18.  Content: NC-17

Neanderthal (formerly known as Cliff) is a hulking, outsider presence in his high school.  And since his older brother Shane committed suicide he feels left out in his own life.  Then school golden child Aaron Zimmerman gets a concussion (not Cliff’s fault) and the first day he is back at school, he tells Cliff that he had a vision from God and the two of them have a list of five tasks in order to improve life for everyone at Happy Valley High School. WHAT?! The odds seem stacked against the pair - and everything they do seems to have the opposite effect.  But in little ways things are looking up (Neanderthal has a girlfriend?! Cool!), so the pair persist.  But each success leads to another roadblock.  It really will take divine intervention to save any of them from themselves.

As I told my husband, I hated this book so much that I can’t wait to read it again.  It terms of swearing, mature content, and violence, it earns that NC-17 rating over and over again. I mean. It uses the ‘f’ word 76 times!  But I also spent every page laughing out loud, reading passages to my husband, and wanting to cover the pages with highlighter because I was so impressed by the author’s craft.  it is so full of heart and raw emotion and I can think of hundreds of students, by name, who would immediately benefit from reading this.  What do I do? I do think that Norton could have written the same big without the major content issues - I think that is why I am so mad at it.  You (school librarians) are going to have to decide for yourselves whether to add it to your shelves.

HS - OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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