Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Summary:
Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Mariana’s 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 thee 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 Deepis a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.
Review:
I was unsure about this book at first. Honestly, it took me about a week before actually getting further than ten pages into it and that was mostly thanks to the audiobook. I ended up listening to the audio from my library because I really wanted to get into the story. Also because I was doing my Christmas baking and I needed an audiobook to listen to. The audiobook sucked me in so quickly. The narrator did everything right in this story.

“The things I feel cannot be put into words, or if they can bem the words are in no language anyone can understand. My emotions are talking in tongues. Joy spins into anger spins into fear them into amused irony, like leaping from a plane, arms wide, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can fly, then discovering you can’t, and not only don’t you have a parachute, but you don’t have any clothes on, and the people below all have binoculars and are laughing as you plummet to a highly embarassing doom.”

I had a hard time with this book in the beginning because I couldn’t tell what was actually going on. I didn’t know if Caden was actually on a ship or if that was a metaphor for something or what the hell was going on. After a while, I figured out what was going on and I think this confusion was likely intentional.

“We always look for the signs we missed when something does wrong. We become like detectives trying to solve a murder, because maybe if we uncover the clues, it gives us some control. Sure, we can’t change what happened, but if we can string together enough clues, we can prove that whtever nightmare has befallen us, we could have stopped it, if only we had been smart enough. I suppose it is better to believe that all the clues in the world wouldn’t have changes a thing.” 

Challenger Deep was honestly such an incredible story once I figured out what was going on. Once I realized what the story was actually about. It was really hard hitting. The things Caden feels and experiences and thinks were just so powerful. I’m definitely still reeling from the last hour or so of the audiobook. I went back and forth between the audio and the book.

“We are, however, creatures of containment. We want all things in life packed into boxes that we can label. But just because we have the ability to label is, doesn’t mean we really know what’s in the box.”

I really am not even sure how to form my thoughts about this book into real sentences. I think this was such an important story that everyone should read. This talks about mental illness in such a raw and interesting way. This was made even more powerful when I learned that this story was widely based on Neal’s experience with his son. To the point where his son’s artwork is inserted into the pages periodically.

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

I just think everyone should read this book and that is all, goodbye.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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