Challenger Deep

Reviewed by Melanie on May 24, 2017


I’ve been thinking about this book a lot since I finished it a few days ago. The story is deep, a bit dark, a bit strange in places, and overall a unique look at mental illness overall.

When I first started the book, I listened for about thirty minutes, thought I missed something and restarted it. I listened more carefully as Caden described his life, and his adventure on the pirate ship. When I first was listening, I thought that the pirate ship as a dream that he was describing, as it became more obvious for me the listener, as it did to Caden’s friends and family, something wasn’t quite right with Caden.

Caden is a beautifully written character, with a depth that most characters never brush on. Like the Mariana’s Trench of the story, the further down he goes down his personal “rabbit hole” so many elements of the story merge together, as they have in his mind that it is difficult to differentiate as listening (or reading) what is real and what is not.

While the story isn’t easy to get through, especially once you realize what is happening, it’s well worth the journey to come out at the other end. Overall Challenger Deep is a beautifully written journey to the dark side with a lighthouse at the end of the tunnel.

Challenger Deep Book Cover Challenger Deep
Neal Shusterman
Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Health, Mental Health
Harper Collins
April 21, 2015

A captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.

Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.
Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.
Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images.
Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.
Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.
Caden Bosch is torn.

Challenger Deep is a deeply powerful and personal novel from one of today's most admired writers for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak, calls Challenger Deep "a brilliant journey across the dark sea of the mind; frightening, sensitive, and powerful. Simply extraordinary."

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