Redd Becker Book Review
In Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman puts us into the mind of a fifteen year old, but this youth’s challenge is schizophrenia. Shusterman writes from the character’s point-of-view (POV). This popular narration style is particularly effective here. He blends real with delusional as he takes us on a surreal journey. While issues arise around family, friends, paranoia and the effect of medicinal drugs, they come from the perspective of a mentally ill.
A good read for those interested in teen schizophrenia, however, I found myself skimming. Perhaps the novel captured the perspective from the inside too realistically, for my taste. Events become muddled and difficult to follow, which happened to me while reading.
Neal Shusterman draws inspiration from family
Shusterman grew up with mental illness in his family. His brother suffers from the disease. Because he knows the topic well, he captures the insiders view in every aspect of his story. An interview on National Book Organization‘s web site provides some background on the author.
Try Belzhar by Meg Woltzer for another perspective on teen mental health.
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Published by HarperTeen on April 21st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.