Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review ~ Challenger Deep Hardcover by Neal Shusterman

Challenger Deep Hardcover by Neal Shusterman (Author), Brendan Shusterman (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen; 1St Edition edition (April 21, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061134112
ISBN-13: 978-0061134111


National Book Award Winner

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."

Thoughts prior to reading:
I got this book nearly a year ago and I barely had time to read it. I got it when I was away at vacation so when I got home I was still on vacation mode and kept putting it off then I got a new job and my blog and reviews consumed less and less of my time. (Sorry about that!) I am trying to fix this. Anyways… what caught my eye of this book is that it is a national book award winner. Which makes me want to read it only more.

Thoughts after reading:
I must admit it was a bit difficult to get into at first but I like that it was like this because that is exactly what Caden felt. He is grounded one minute and away the next. The things he went through is all too real, his family and friends could not understand this sudden change in him. Unfortunately they imagined the worst, drugs.

What else could explain his abnormal behavior? Caden felt like he has to constantly move and becomes more and more paranoid. He finds himself doing things he hadn’t realized he had been doing. At one point he had been walking so much for so long only to realize he wasn’t wearing shoes, for how long he had been like this he could not tell. Finally his parents realize something must be wrong with him and take him to the hospital where he is placed in a mental institute. At first he is loaded with so many meds that he only feels numb. 

 Slowly he begins to regain a little bit of himself meanwhile he is trying to get adjusted there and his doctor tries to find his right medication cocktail. It is here where readers are able to differentiate what is his schizophrenia and what is reality.

The things he experiences, the things he sees, it is an eye opener for us who are on the other side of the looking glass. He makes friends with someone who volunteers there who was once in the same position as him, making him see that things can in fact improve. When he finally is released I cried. The story is all too real because it is based on what the author went through with his son, who is also the illustrator. 

I think this book should be on everyone’s to-be-read pile. This book will make you think differently once you are done with it.

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