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Challenger Deep
by Neal Shusterman

“The scariest thing of all is never knowing what you're suddenly going to believe.”

Caden Bosch is fifteen, is helping his friends design a videogame, and is thinking of going out for the high school track team. Caden Bosch is also headed to the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, is the ship’s artist-in-resident, and is under the direct orders from the ship’s pirate captain. Caden is torn between his loyalty to the captain and the appeal of leading the ship into complete mutiny.

Challenger Deep is a complex and beautifully written story about Caden Bosch’s struggle with an amplifying mental illness. Told entirely through Caden’s point of view, readers are totally immersed in the difficulties, fears, and social stigmas he faces daily. Award-winning author, Neal Shusterman, draws this story from personal experience with his son’s mental illness diagnosis. Drawings created by his son during his treatments are featured throughout the book. 

Caden is a well-developed, relatable character that readers will rally behind. The story is honest, action-packed, and humorous even though it tackles a heavy topic. This is a must-read for anyone who has struggled with mental illness, known someone with mental illness, or is interested in knowing more about mental illness in contemporary society. Challenger Deep will resonate with readers long after the last page.

The audio rendition of this book is also fantastic – Full of pirate-speak and witty parrot dialogue! Highly recommended.

Sarah R.
August 21, 2016
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