Challenger Deep Review

Long time no see. My exams are finished now so I will be able to post more consistently. Today I have a book review for you. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.

Challenger Deep by 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 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.

This book is a bit of a heavy hitter, told in first person from Caden’s point of view, it defiantly doesn’t hold back on giving you an insight into the mind of a person with a schizoaffective disorder. While compelling, I did find this book hard to read at some points as Caden’s paranoia and anxiety were beginning to rub off on me. This book is raw and powerful and showcases a reality that is often hidden away or falsely glamorised, but does so with such intensity that I would not recommend reading it if you are in a fragile state of mind.

The short chapters in this book simulate the dual realties that Cadena is experiencing almost in real time side by side; his life and the ship. The constant battle between one and the other for attention in the reader’s mind creates the impression that you are receiving information about both worlds simultaneously creating confusion and a continuous narrative.

While on some level the plot of this book is very simple, the micro twists, turns and confusions experienced by Caden make the whole thing feel more complicated that it really is. Furthermore time and the order in which things happen is called into question a bit during the book in a way that I think is intriguing and is left deliberately unresolved. The main focus is on the journey that Caden goes through and how that effects him. This story is very character focused and looks into his mental health crisis. Whilst I cannot speak for the accuracy of the portrayal of this specific diagnosis, at the back of the book Shusterman does say that this book is inspired by mental health situations within his own family, with the illustrations being drawn by his son in the midst of his own time in the deep.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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