Book Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

18075234Title: Challenger Deep
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: April 21, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 308
Source: Library
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

My review:

“They all think medicine should be magic, and they become mad at me when it’s not.”

This book is so important. Challenger Deep is both a journey across oceans and a descent (but more accurately a plummet) into the deepest trenches you can imagine.

Caden Bosch is mentally ill. As a reader, we witness the growing paranoia and erraticism in Caden’s daily thoughts. His once concrete artwork becomes abstract and obscure. He believes that a student at school is trying to kill him. He is sure that his parents are not, in fact, his real parents. They have been replaced by something sinister. The dolphins on his little sister’s wallpaper are out to get him. He can’t trust anyone. And then he ends up on a ship, with a crew that he can’t trust anymore than he can trust himself.

This is Caden’s journey.

Although both auditory and visual hallucinations are constantly clouding his judgement, there are also moments where the clouds part, and Caden can see things for what and how they really are. Readers will follow Caden’s descent into schizophrenia, and somewhere along the way, his hallucinations will become real to us, too. In time, everything will make sense.

This book is brilliantly written. It’s about a topic that should be written and talked about more often. I have nothing else to say other than this: Read this book. Read it now.


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