1. The ordinary suburban one populated by family, high school, and everyday demands like homework and track practice, and
2. The one where he is on a ship bound for Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the ocean. His constant companions are the ship's Captain and mystery of what lies within the trench.
One world is real. The other exists only inside Caden's mind.
As time passes, it becomes more and more difficult for Caden to distinguish between these two worlds. It becomes more and more difficult to hide the startling truth from his family...and from himself. Caden's personal journey will take him to some of the darkest places that the human mind can go and back out again (for now).
Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman, is a haunting, absorbing, and heartbreaking novel detailing the descent into mental illness. In the author's note Shusterman, whose son Brenden is affected by mental illness, explains that much of what is described in this book is semi-biographical: the fear, the paranoia, and the depression that imacts not only the sufferer, but their loved ones as well. On the other hand, there is also the healing and the hope that, with support, mental illness can be overcome.
Drawings by Brenden Shusterman illustrate the places Caden visits throughout the story.
The Verdict: Wow! Just...wow!
If you liked Challenger Deep, try:
- Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
- The Lonely, by Ainslie Hogarth