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.
A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.
Description taken from Goodreads.
If you want to read Challenger Deep because you loved Shusterman’s other books, I probably wouldn’t recommend this to you.
Shusterman’s other books are epic and sweeping and all really, really well-done. In it’s own way, Challenger Deep is all of those things, but it’s still different. I think the best way I can phrase it is that he branched into a new genre (for him), and he exceeded at it. You can’t be a great pop musician and then become a great heavy metal musician and expect all your fans to follow you.
So, if you’re looking for a literary fiction-type work that really delves into the spiral of insanity, then I would recommend this one to you. If not, then there are a ton of other fantastic mental illness books out there. For something along the lines of Challenger Deep, I would recommend starting at Matthew Quick.
But back to Challenger Deep.
Personally I love the portrayal of descent into madness, especially in classical literature like Crime and Punishment and some of Dickens’ works, but that really wasn’t what I was looking for in this novel. It was interesting, yes, but unexpected. What I mean by that is a lot of people have been saying they find it hard to review this book, and I think a lot of them actually mean that it’s boring.
It reads like classical lit, except there’s no point in the story where you think, oh yes, this is where it starts growing. No. It just keeps on going on that way until the end. Think The Ghosts of Heaven, except you actually know what’s going on by the middle of the book.
All in all, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad book. It’s just different. It’s the kind of book you read to put yourself to sleep: vaguely interesting, very important, but you don’t need to read every word. I felt really detached from the characters, and in the end, I didn’t care more than I did in the beginning.I think it’s great for mental illness books, but it’s not the first one I would recommend. 2 stars.