Challenger Deep

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman


I have to admit I almost put this down. The opening just didn’t grab me right away. Am I glad I didn’t! How often do you call a book haunting? I mean really haunting. I dreamt about this book, found myself thinking about it at odd moments, and still feel the veil of its spell confounding my worldview. One of the reasons I love to read is that I get to step into someone’s shoes and experience the world through a character very different from myself. Shusterman didn’t put me inside his character right off the bat…it took a few pages…it took a few scenes…but oh, boy, once he got me inside Caden’s head it was an experience I won’t forget. The journey takes you from sanity, gradually sinking into insanity where nothing is trustworthy, to drugged insanity where “dulled” takes on new meaning, to gradual clarity—it’s no happily ever after. The possibility of losing that tentative grasp onto the real world is ever present. But the ending is not without hope, if you can find your way out of the abyss once, you can do it again. Sometimes you have to hang on to that. For anyone who wants to have empathy for a battle fought against inner demons—this is it. Stick with it, your efforts will be repaid a bazillion-fold.

© Jill Rubalcaba 2014