Monday, 16 January 2017

Disability Diaries: Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman!

I'm so excited to be taking part in the week long event Disability Diaries, which is showcasing disability diversity and why it's important to talk about it! A few lovely bloggers are hosting this event that runs until next Saturday, so make sure to check out their posts! As my contribution for the event, I'm going to be reviewing an amazing book that I just recently read, called Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman.

While brainstorming ideas of what I wanted to do for my post, I was reading a book called Challenger Deep. It turned out to blow my mind on how amazingly it dealt with mental illness, so I decided that raising awareness about this book was going to be my post. Everyone should read this.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 21, 2015 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
Rating: 5/5 stars



Caden Bosch and other members of a crew of sailors are heading out on a ship set sail for challenger deep, the deepest part of the Marianas Trench. Caden's job is to draw everything that they discover along the way. However in reality, Caden is not on a ship. He is not going to challenger deep. He is a high school student suffering from schizophrenia and anxiety, and he has been sent to a mental health facility to get better. As Caden goes about nine weeks of therapy, a cocktail of drugs, and new friends with their own battles, Caden in his mind, is setting sail for the adventure of a lifetime. And nobody understands but him.

This book blew me away in how it was executed. Not only did it handle mental illness in a way that was so raw and so real, but it was also incredibly unique in weaving Caden's psychosis into the storyline. It had a very mystical tone to it, while still staying true to the theme.

The book contains a lot of drawings drawn by Caden, as he is on his ship. These were such a unique touch and the author's note at the end explains the pictures in further detail that will leave you surprised and speechless. They were there for a reason, and that reason, was beautiful.

This book is so real. It touches upon not only a variety of mental illnesses, but also about medication, family struggles, and even how to heal. I don't think this book was a very triggering book because it is more about showing that healing is possible, but obviously always be cautious when approaching any mental health book. I loved reading about Caden's healing process and how it was effected by the other people at the hospital.

Overall, I think this book handled the issues at hand brilliantly. This was the first book about schizophrenia I've read, and it was done in a way that showed hope, that showed highs and lows, and showed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I fell in love with the overall metaphor of this book and I hope you will too.

Have you read Challenger Deep? What did you think?

That's it for my disability diaries post! Check out all of the other ones too!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

14 comments:

  1. Wow - that's a tricky concept! Sounds like it was handled quite well though.

    Awesome post Em :) and I'm sooooo glad you wrote a post for #DisabilityDiaries2017 :)

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    1. Thanks Cee! It definitely handled the situation extremely well!

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  2. Oh! You had me when you said 'it dealt well' with the subject, but as soon as I heard about them drawing this immediately went on my tbr list! Excited to read this! Thanks for drawing my attention to it. Hoping it's as amazing as it sounds!! All the love.x

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    1. It's definitely an incredibly compelling book that I would recommend to anyone! Can't say enough good things :)

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  3. This book sounds interesting. I'm intrigued by the illustrations!

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  4. Hi Emily!
    I am so glad you're participating with us in Disability Diaries 2017. I'm glad the author didn't make Caden sound violent or scary. That's a common misconception about people with schizophrenia.Psychosis doesn't equal violence necessarily. Take it from a person with schizophrenia ;) *Hugs*

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    1. Hi Dina! Thank you for your lovely comment :) I definitely agree that schizophrenia does not line up with violence and I can say that this book does amazingly at getting rid of those stereotypes! It's just a really beautiful book :)

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  5. Hi Emily! It's been so long since I last commented on your blog, and it has flourished since! I like your header :)

    I haven't read Challenger Deep, but as others have said before me, I definitely think it is crucial to spotlight diversity in disability, and I'm glad an event like this exists to raise awareness. I have only read one other book featuring a character with schizophrenia: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. While it was enjoyable, many have pointed out the flawed representation of mental illness in the book and harmful idea that a romance can magically "resolve" a disability. I will look for Challenger Deep on my next trip to the library, for sure!

    claire @ clairefy

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    1. Hi Claire! Happy to see you back! And thanks :) I would definitely recommend this book if you're looking for a book where mental illness is resolved as real as possible. There was nothing in this book that I thought was mis-represented. Definitely something to look out for :)

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  6. Wow, have immediately added this to my TBR! I have never read a book with a character with schizophrenia, which is a really big oversight! Do you know of any others?

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    1. Neither have I! So I don't really have any recommendations, but a lot of great bloggers have posts up with all kinds of great books on various mental health issues. If you search up #diversebooks on twitter, you should be able to find a few! :)

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  7. I will defintely need to add this book to my TBR list. I have heard how good it is, and how it handles the topic of mental illness well. Great review, Emily. :)

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    1. Thank you Jess! I hope you love it as much as I did :)

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