TITLE : Challenger Deep

AUTHOR : Neal Shusterman

GENRE : YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 Stars)

DATE OF PUBLISHING : 21st April 2015


DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Harper Collins for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep is my first experience with the author, and what an experience it was. I had a hard time reading this book, and now even more of a hard time rating it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to articulate all my thoughts into this review. This was a difficult read for me in every sense of the word. I had to put it down several times and take breaks in between as well. This book requires patience, strength, and determination to push through. The story is about a young teenage boy Caden who struggles with mental illness. We follow his journey and his decline of his mental health as he shuttles back and forth between his delusions and reality that seems to be far out of his reach.

The story is said entirely from Caden’s perspective. The chapters filled with reality and delusions bring the situation of mental illness to the forefront. The book will leave you confused, scared, and shocked at the rate at which Caden’s mental health declines. His thoughts are scattered, his delusions holding him prisoner. The chaos of the mind pulling Caden deeper into the depths of the unknown will leave the readers heartbroken for his pain. The lines between reality and delusion are so blurred it takes readers and Caden a long time to understand the source of the chaos.

The hospitalized version of the story connecting the story from the ship helps us understand Caden and his state of mind. I have to say this is most definitely one of the hardest books I have ever read, and at times I wanted to quit reading it. I felt myself drowning in Caden’s delusions with no end in sight. This book ill make you think, learn something new from the journey Caden takes, and finally make you empathetic towards people who go through mental illnesses.

The challenges set forward for people with mental illnesses were depicted very well in my opinion. There are a lot of trigger warnings, and I would say one needs to be mentally prepared to read this book. My head was pounding from all the back and forth in this book. At times it will feel like you were thrown into the unknown depths of the ocean with no life raft, and at times you will feel the glimmer of hope. This book is bound to be confusing, troubling, and horrifying. But there is a ray of hope and reality is that mental illnesses will not go away completely, but you will learn to live with it. The importance of seeking help, having the right support system, and being non-judgemental towards the ones who suffer from these issues are highlighted in this book.

I gave the book 4.5 stars. I think this is an important book to read. If you have the strength to read through the book without losing yourself to the chaos, the book will be an informative, educational, and eye-opening experience. Whether it’s the slow decline or the abrupt deterioration of a person’s mental health, the struggle is real. The author has done a fantastic job of representing the chaos and the delusions. The artwork included in the book was drawn by his son when he was going through his challenging moments. I felt it added more of a personal touch, and it elevated the book as well. This is a raw, honest up-close portrayal of a young boy’s decline of mental health and his journey of recovery. This was without a shadow of a doubt one of the most enlightening and life-changing read for sure. I highly recommend checking it out.


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 behaviour.

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.

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