Challenger Deep

Challenger Deep

Book - 2015 | First edition
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A teenage boy struggles with schizophrenia.
Publisher: New York, NY :, HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780061134111
Branch Call Number: TEEN FIC Shu
Characteristics: 308 pages, 5 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Shusterman, Brendan


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Dec 07, 2019

I ALMOST stopped reading this book several times. Once I was able to read the story and not have a mental fight with the story, it became one of the best books I've read this year. The book highlights just how close we all are from being NORMAL to being a miss understood OUTCAST. VERY strong MESSAGE!

IndyPL_SteveB Sep 13, 2019

A brilliant novel about teenage mental illness -- 2015 National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature. Shusterman is one of the top young adult writers in America, but this might be his best.

Caden Bosch is a crew member with a strange captain on an ocean voyage to the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench. Caden Bosch is a high school student gradually losing his connection to reality. Caden Bosch is a teenager dealing with mental illness in a mental institution. Shusterman winds these three versions of Caden’s reality into a story that allows us to see his personal journey through schizophrenia from the inside. The author does not give the reader explanations so the book is strange at first, even disturbing, as we as readers also wrestle with determining what is real, what is fantasy, and what is meaningful. The disturbing parts are balanced with adventure, humor, and occasional moments where Caden becomes aware of what is really happening to him. The fantasy plot of the ocean voyage, with battles against sea monsters, a talking parrot mutineer, and a living ship’s figurehead provides the adventure but also helps us see Caden’s inner life.

This book was suggested by the experiences of the author’s son dealing with mental illness, although the author emphasizes that the particulars of the novel are fiction. Deeply moving and impressive.

May 19, 2018

I've always been a believer in the idea that the stories of others can be life changing. Whether you relate to the story or not, other perspectives can potentially change your outlook on life. I, as a person who has no first or second-hand experience with mental illness, feel that way about Neal Shusterman's book Challenger Deep. Challenger Deep tells the story of a 15-year-old boy by the name of Caden Bosch, who is unknowingly struggling with schizophrenia. The disorder is new to him, and he has no idea what is happening to him. In his head, he is on a boat headed for Challenger Deep, and everything that goes on there corresponds with reality. He is soon admitted into a psych ward, where he meets several people that impact his life and continues his journey to Challenger Deep. The book is very metaphorical, which only serves to deepen the beauty of Caden’s journey. His life on deck mirrors his real life in ways that lend insight into the way Caden feels about certain things that go on, that allow us to understand his mind more than we ever could without that world. The drawings that were placed within the book, illustrated by the author’s schizophrenic son, also provide a way for the reader to see his inner workings with the added heartbreaking knowledge that the drawings were not just something the author made up but raw emotion penned by someone with first-hand experience. I also really appreciated the fact that Caden’s relationships were not sugar coated. The bonds he forged were not forced the way they are in some novels, but came into existence naturally. Not all of them survived, which brought a refreshing yet jarring sense of reality to the novel. The chapters were short and changed drastically from chapter to chapter, which served to depict the nature of the disorder very well. The beginning confused me, but that changed as the story went on. The ending also did not answer many questions I had about the other characters. I recommend this both for people who have went through similar to trials and tribulations with their own mental illnesses and people like me who just want to learn from other people's stories. This book did very well in educating readers on mental illness as well as removing stigmas by allowing us to traverse the mind of Caden Bosch.

Warnings: Just some bad language really. It's not common, and even if that bothers you I still suggest you read this book.

May 03, 2017

This is an incredible book, it is hard to get through sometimes, but keep reading, it gets better, and then it becomes incredible.

coloradobuck Apr 15, 2017

This book was a tough read. I'm not going to sugar coat it. But, it was a very insightful look into living with mental illness. It was a work of fiction yet it seemed very plausible. If you need to better understand how mental illness affects the person living with it as well as the lives of those around them then read this.

Library_Jill Apr 13, 2017

A powerfully honest, emotionally impactful, and ultimately hopeful journey inside the mind of a teen dealing with a mental disorder. The construction of this story and the complexity and relatability of the characters blew me out of the water (pun recognized, but not intended). This book is not what I typically think of as "my type of story," but it is definitely the best book I have read so far this year, and it's certainly going to stick with me.

mvkramer Dec 10, 2016

There are no pat answers here. No easy solutions. Mental illness isn't used here for glamour or cheap drama. Caden's delusions can be terrifying. It's hard to imagine that someone's own mind can torment them so mercilessly. Caden's tale is heartbreaking - he will have to deal with his illness for the rest of life, and that really isn't fair. In the end, though, the story is hopeful and empowering, and I hope it will reduce the stigma of mental illness for the people who read it.

Aug 07, 2016

Definitely worth the read! This book made me feel like I was inside of Caden's head, it all makes so much sense and I loved it so much. Very well researched and excellently written. Five stars, I would read it again.

Th3L1brar1an May 26, 2016

Want to know what it feels like to struggle with schizophrenia? Read this book!!
Caden Bosch struggles against the pull and occasional allure of mental illness in this gripping tale where the lines between what is real and what is imagined make it nearly impossible to surface from the depths below.

JCLChrisK Dec 15, 2015

Readers sharing Caden's story from inside his head will feel confused almost all of the time. It skips around from one place to another--one reality to another. Caden is a high school student living a typical life. Caden is on board a pirate ship in search of the treasure buried at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, a ship where the strangest, most fantastical things happen. Caden is a high school student living an atypical life, doing things his family, friends, and others don't understand. It's all a confusing mash of narratives that flow into and out of each other freely. "It" being the story. "It" being Caden's perception of reality. "It" being Caden's mind.

Perhaps you've seen the statistics about how large a percentage of homeless people have mental health issues. You've surely seen scenes on TV and film where a street person rants about things only they can see, scarily disconnected from reality; and perhaps you've seen it in person. That is Caden. Only Caden doesn't know it, he just lives the reality that presents itself to him. Readers only know what Caden knows.

Journeying with Caden in Challenger Deep is a fascinating glimpse into an unusual experience. Fascinating, confusing, frightening, powerful, and captivating. It will almost assuredly give you insight into the minds of those with mental health issues and change the way you perceive them.

It might even, as a side effect, give you insight into the much more mild ways we all spin, interpret, construct our perceptions of reality.

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Aug 13, 2019

abygailbratton thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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mvkramer Dec 10, 2016

Other: Trigger warning: A supporting character attempts suicide. Not super graphic.


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Apr 26, 2017

"Give yourself over to the universe."


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