Review for Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman!
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Characters: **** (4.5/5)
Plot: **** (4.5/5)
Writing Quality: ****** (6/5)
Amazon Rating: **** (4/5)
“Would you rather be a cripple in his world, or a hero in mine?”
Caden Bosch is a normal high school kid. He goes to classes, sits with his friends, and does his homework. But his friends are starting to notice he’s acting a bit odd. He pretended to join the track team, but instead walks for hours around his neighborhood. The line between what’s real and what’s not is blurring, and he gets more and more lost in his own world.
Caden Bosch is on a journey to Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest point on Earth. He’s on a ship with other crewmen, the captain, the parrot, Carlyle the sweeper, and Calliope the lucky sculpture. He is designated the artist-in-residence of the journey, and his works have different hidden meanings to everyone who holds them. As the journey goes on, Caden becomes torn: torn between the parrot, who promises to bring him off the ship and back to his family, and the captain, who promises to make him a star of the journey. So what will Caden choose: to return to the world as he knows it, despite the pain that it might bring him, or to remain in the world of the captain, unrecognizable to those who know him but a star of his own world? Find out in this captivating and breathtaking novel!
Having read Unwind, I expected this book to be great, but it defied my expectations by miles and miles. Laurie Halse Anderson says it best: “Challenger Deep is a brilliant journey across the dark sea of the mind; frightening, sensitive, and powerful. Simply extraordinary.” And that’s exactly what it is: fascinating, beautiful, and simply extraordinary.
Everything about this book was breathtaking. The characters, the plot, the writing, and everything in between. It shocked and surprised me at every twist and turn, and Caden’s journey was simply fascinating. Learning about his experiences and adventure captivated me on every single page, and there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t engrossed in the pages of this wonderful piece of writing.
Making connections was another of my favorite aspects of this book. Realizing what part each of Caden’s acquaintances played in his metaphorical yet incredibly real adventure was exciting and intriguing every single time.
I also loved how relatable Caden was. I personally didn’t think I would be able to relate to him at all, but there were so many feelings he had that I understood on so many levels. Shusterman created a character that was unexpectedly relatable, which is a task I think is close to impossible.
Overall, this book is deeply incredible. It strikes the chords you didn’t know existed, and is something you will always remember. It’s one of those rare novels where words can’t describe the emotions you feel, one of the rare ones that dives straight into the core of your heart. This book allows you to learn about a fascinating mental illness while experiencing a unique adventure that most books just don’t offer, and I recommend it to anyone. I think that everybody can enjoy it, if only you appreciate the depth and beauty of it.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!