Challenger Deep

Neal Shusterman. HarperTeen, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-113411-1
With lyricism and potent insight, Shusterman (Unwind) traces the schizophrenic descent and return of Caden Bosch, an intelligent 15-year-old and a gifted artist. His internal narratives are sometimes dreams, sometimes hallucinations, and sometimes undefinable, dominated by a galleon and its captain, sailing with an enormous, sullen crew to the deepest point of the Marianas Trench, Challenger Deep. The metaphor’s not exactly subtle, but Shusterman finds unexpected resonance in its details—the tarry seams in the wood, the human ballast. External reality still registers: people around Caden run the gamut of humor, scolding, threats, and avoidance to pressure him into changing behavior he no longer controls. Shusterman has mined personal experience of mental illness with his son Brendan, whose line drawings mirror Caden’s fragmentation in swirling lines eerily reminiscent of Van Gogh. It’s a powerful collaboration, and crucial to the novel’s credibility. As Caden says, “There is no such thing as a ‘correct’ diagnosis,” and though his story doesn’t necessarily represent a “typical” experience of mental illness, it turns symptoms into lived reality in ways readers won’t easily forget. Ages 14–up. Agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/16/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-0058-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-3472-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-241309-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-3473-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-236804-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-113414-2
Prebound-Glued - 320 pages - 978-0-606-38734-7
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-223172-7
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