Book review: “Challenger Deep”

Book title: “Challenger Deep”

Author: Neal Shusterman

Publication year: 2015

Number of pages: 320

Format: paperback

Personal copy

Amount of stars I gave on Goodreads: 5☆


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.


This novel despite being beautifully written, was hard to get into at first due to the way it WAS written. It probably sounds weird, but at first everything seemed kind of muddled and I didn’t really get it.

The more I got into the book the more I started seeing the bigger picture and got pulled deeper into the story.
What I really loved is that in this novel mental illness and suffering from it was not romaticized and made into something that everyone will understand.

The writing really showed the ugliness and severity of a situation where one is supposed to go into a hospital because of their mental state.

Reading this I started feeling quite sad myself, because I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what something as serious as schizophrenia feels like.

“You see demons in the eyes of the world, and the world sees a bottomless pit in yours.”

The fact that this novel was inspired by the author’s own relationship with people he cared about, who were mentally ill makes the story feel more real and personal.

Caden was a great 15 year old main protagonist. He was in the age where everything in the world starts making more sense and the way he kept struggling with himself and his mental state was quite heartbreaking.

“Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug.”

The way Caden’s reality and dream world melted together was also a great aspect from which to see the story. The metaphor wasn’t subtle but it was great.

The illustrations in the book kept making me stop every time they turned up in the book because looking at them felt good. I liked seeing how they went together with the story and the thematic in the novel. And then when I read the author’s note in the end and read about the illustrations, they became more dear to me.

This book really quickly climbed to the spot of favourite book of July. I ended up giving this a 5 out of 5 because that is the only rating it deserves.

This was an eye opening novel and I seriously recommend everyone to pick it up.

“The fear of not living is a deep, abiding dread of watching your own potential decompose into irredeemable disappointment when ‘should be’ gets crushed by what is. Sometimes I think it would be easier to die than to face that, because ‘what could have been’ is much more highly regarded than ‘what should have been.”

Check the book out on Goodreads here.


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