Article Title

Challenger Deep


Carlie Smith


Outstanding, Neal Shusterman, Brendan Shusterman, Young Adult, Mental Illness, Marianas Trench, Schizophrenia

Document Type

Book Review


Cayden Bosch is a boy who lives two lives: one aboard a pirate ship sailing for the deepest part of the Marianas Trench and the other as a normal high school student succumbing to schizophrenia. His paranoia, anxiety, and delusions eventually cause his parents to take him to a mental hospital. There he contends with his psychiatrist, the medications, and other patients. Cayden eventually makes friends with Callie and Hal and they help him in his self-discovery. His time in the hospital is the main storyline; however chapters detailing his delusions aboard the ship are shuffled in. delusions are described in alternating chapters. This metaphorical journey helps him to process his condition but also separates him from the real world. When Hal stops taking his medication and attempts to commit suicide, Cayden also sinks into despair. He symbolically dives into the trench when he also stops taking his medication and has a major breakdown. Cayden emerges from the depths after finding hope and realizing the importance of his medication. After nine weeks in the hospital he is released with a sense of optimism knowing that he even though he may sink into the depths again, “it’s not going to happen today.”