Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman 

Reviewer: E                      August 2015

Challenger Deep is a captivating novel by a talented author. 🙂 

The book is about 15-year-old Caden. On the outside, Caden is a normal boy who goes to school, hangs out with friends, and joins clubs. On the inside, he has a secret– he is actually living and working on a ship set towards the deepest point on Earth, Challenger Deep. The plot was really creative and original as well as intriguing. This book drew me in, I couldn’t put it down! It has enough conflict, ups, and downs to make it interesting. It did take me a little while to get into the book. For the first 50 pages I felt like my IQ had dropped to 0 because I was so confused. How can he have a normal life and be a seaman at the same time? As a last resort I flipped to the author’s note in the back and found out that the whole sailor thing was a wild hallucination and that Caden was mentally ill. Mr. Shusterman could have explained that better. If it hadn’t been for that note I probably wouldn’t have understood it until the last page. Once I got into the story I was hooked. 

The writing in Challenger Deep is very unique and meaningful. Mr. Shusterman writes with a one of a kind style and his words are filled with heartfelt imagery and symbolism. This book may be even better than the fantastic Unwind! This novel was so beautiful. I lack the eloquence to properly describe it. 

And the characters! What a colorful crew of buoys and gills. (haha…hah…haha…) 3D, complex characters delighted the pages. Everyone can see a bit of themselves in Caden, Hal, and Callie. Perhaps my favorite element to the novel was that there is a connection with each character to a character. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s really fun to figure out who’s who! 

Oh. And one last thing. Challenger Deep is a real place…and it’s awesome. 

Seriously, how cool is that? Answer: Cooooool.

I thought I would give this book 4 stars, yet after writing this review I realize now that it has earned 4.5 beloved golden stars. Anyone with mental illness should read this book, as well as any realistic fiction, fantasy, and sick fic fans. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2. 


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