Posts     Comments    

Are You Following Me?

Grab My Button

My TBR Pile

Darkfaerietales's to-read book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Word Cloud

ARC Tour Blog Tour Book Expo of America Chloe Neill Contemporary Contemporary Romance Contest Winner Convention Deadly Destinations Dystopian Erotic Romance Fantastic Fables Fantasy Gini Koch Giveaway Guest Post High Fantasy Historical Historical Fiction Horror Interview Jennifer Estep Katherine "Kitty" Katt Series Mystery New Adult New Releases Paranormal Paranormal Romance Patricia Briggs Review Richelle Mead Romance RT Convention Science Fiction Seanan McGuire Spooky Legends Steampunk Supernatural Smack Down Taking Cover Thriller Urban Fantasy Vampires Waiting on Wednesday Winner Young Adult 12 Days of Christmas (31)
Across the Worlds (13)
ARC Tour (326)
Artist Alley (9)
Author Spotlight (11)
Author Update (7)
Awards (14)
Blog Tour (211)
Book Haul (8)
Book Talk (15)
Book Trailer (7)
Contest Winner (645)
Conventions (94)
Cover Judge (7)
Cover Reveal (11)
Dark Faerie Tales Launch (11)
Dark Faerie Tales Team (20)
Dating Games (17)
Deadly Destinations (139)
Discussion (36)
Event (42)
Fall Carnival (55)
Fantastic Fables (117)
Feature Friday (20)
Fifty Shades of Book Boys (40)
Fifty Shades of Sensuality (16)
Fifty Shades YA Boys (15)
Friday Reveal (1)
Giveaway (266)
Graphic Novels (5)
Guest Blogger (7)
Guest Post (143)
Help Wanted (10)
Interview (91)
Mating Games (19)
Movies (31)
New Releases (80)
Pick of Six (8)
Poll (1)
Publishing News (16)
Read-a-long (6)
Reading Challenge (25)
Remaking Covers (3)
Remnant Chronicles Read Along (3)
Review (2,319)
Spooky Legends (35)
Supernatural Smack Down (71)
Taking Cover (288)
Teaser Tuesday (7)
Television (5)
Throne & Court Week (6)
Top Ten of 2016 (7)
Trailer Thursday (22)
Video Games (5)
Waiting on Wednesday (36)
Who Needs A Hero (30)
Year in the Life of a Romance Review (3)

WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.

I Belong

Early Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Challenger DeepTitle: Challenger Deep

Author: Neal Shusterman

Genre: YA Contemporary/Mental Illness

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0061134112 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0061134111 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed


A captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author 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 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.

Challenger Deep is a deeply powerful and personal novel from one of today’s most admired writers for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak, calls Challenger Deep “a brilliant journey across the dark sea of the mind; frightening, sensitive, and powerful. Simply extraordinary.”

Quick & Dirty: An incredibly moving story on the progression of a teenage boy’s mental illness and the thinning veil between reality and make believe.

Opening Sentence: There are two things you know. One: You were there. Two: You couldn’t have been there.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I have probably read more books on mental illnesses in the last few months than I have altogether! It’s not a conscience effort on my part, there just seems to be greater emphasis on such issues of late, and I’m glad of it because it brings to light a taboo subject. The problem with popular themes is that after a few books, they start to sound the same and become easily forgettable. However, I’m glad to note that Challenger Deep stands out from all the other reads, if not for anything else but for the unusual concept of using pirates to explain the story!

The story is told from Caden’s perspective, a smart 15-year old who spends an increasing amount of time in his fantasy world, where he is a crew member of a pirate ship on its way to Challenger Deep; the deepest known part of the earth’s seabed. The progression of his illness and how it affects his life before he is rehabilitated was scary to read. Caden’s condition deteriorates until he can’t tell the difference between what is in his head and what is reality.

They [the voices] linger there on the edge of your consciousness like the things you hear just as you’re walking up, before the dream collapses under the crushing weight of the real world. But what if the dream doesn’t go away when you wake up? And what if you lose the ability to tell the difference?

I particularly enjoyed the eccentricities of the pirate crew, especially since they were based on actual people in Caden’s life. For example, Calliope the mermaid figurehead of the ship is based on Callie, a girl Caden likes in his psychiatric unit. He helps set the mermaid free, just like he helps Callie to get better and leave the hospital. The links between his fantasy life and real life made his journey all the more interesting. Once I realised the crew was based on people Caden knew, it became a guessing game, although truth be told, everyone but the captain was easy to guess.

Challenger Deep is a thought-provoking book without being so intense that it becomes depressing. Despite the serious topic base, there was plenty of humour, especially from events on the pirate ship. The chapters were very short; only 1-2 pages long and I found that made it far easier to read.

Caden’s a fascinating character and surprisingly, I didn’t pity him like I probably should have. In fact, his smart and honest nature was more to be envied. Even in his medicated and drug induced state, his witty comebacks made me chuckle. His take on life opened my eyes, especially with comments like: ‘You don’t so much sleep as borrow eight hours from death.’

Overall, this was an excellently written book, with some bizarre characters and a most interesting take on coping with a mental illness.

Notable Scene:

You know the voices aren’t talking into your ears, but they’re not exactly in your head either. They seem to call to you from another place that you’ve accidentally tapped into, like a cell phone pulling in a conversation in some foreign language – yet somehow you understand it. They linger there on the edge of your consciousness like the things you hear just as you’re walking up, before the dream collapses under the crushing weight of the real world. But what if the dream doesn’t go away when you wake up? And what if you lose the ability to tell the difference?

Additional Notable Scene:

In addition to the occasional shot of Haldol, I now take four pills, twice a day. One to shut down my thoughts, another to shut down my actions. A third to address the side effects of the first two. And a fourth so the third doesn’t feel lonely. The result leaves my brain somewhere in orbit beyond Saturn, where it can’t bother anyone, especially me.


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Challenger Deep. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Related Posts with Thumbnails

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.