Monday, October 3, 2016

Challenger Deep~Neal Shusterman | Review

Title: Challenger Deep
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mental Health
Length: 308 Pages
Release: April 2015
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I have yet to read a Neal Shusterman book that I did not enjoy and this is one that I have been wanting to read for a while now. Going into this I didn't really know much about it (which is the way I like it), but it was so much more than I expected.

The main story follows Caden, a boy who suffers from mental illness. It never gives you an exact diagnosis, which I thought was a good thing. I guess you could say he was schizophrenic, but, as discussed in the book, no diagnosis is 100% accurate because no two people are the same. Things manifest in very different ways.

I've read a few other books that deal with mental illness, but I've never read one that I believe portrayed it so well. This was beautifully written and crafted, with a heartbreaking story and characters, but wasn't so over the top that it was too depressing to appreciate what was going on. I think that's where my issues with other books come in. They try to be too hard hitting and in doing so lose a lot of the emotional factor they could have otherwise. But this did not do that.

It's also kind of a mystery as you piece together the various aspects of the story into one "real" story. Which is one of my favorite techniques in writing, though I have never seen it presented quite like this.

There were some extremely emotional moments for me in this book. I've suffered from major depression my entire life and some of this story was so real to me that it was frightening. Watching Caden fall further and further below his obsessive hallucinations and paranoia hit very close to home. And it broke my heart.

This is an extremely honest look at what it's like to suffer from a mental illness. It doesn't turn it into a glamorous thing or give you an easy fix. It just tells it like it is, ugly and beautiful pieces together. And I loved it for that. So if you're looking for a book that will give you an insightful and honest look at mental illness, look no further. Challenger Deep has what you're looking for.   


  1. We’re review twins! I posted a review of this book today, too. I liked the book a lot and thought it did a nice job of showing mental illness in a realistic way.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. That's awesome! I'm really glad you enjoyed this. It was super powerful for me.