Challenger Deep- Book Review

Cover of the book Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Review by laurae87

Caden Bosch thinks too much. As a fifteen-year-old struggling with schizophrenia and anxiety, life is one confusing mess of hallucinations and worried thoughts. With the growing concern of his family, Caden takes too many painkillers, eats too little, and paces around the house in a dissociated state. At school, his test scores are dropping, and his paranoia is rising. School becomes a place that triggers panic, so Caden starts skipping classes, and instead, walks around town. His “thought-voices” torment him and make him think unpleasant thoughts. Caden is slowly losing his grip on reality. His parents notice his unusual (and worrying) behavior and admit him into a psychiatric ward. There, he meets other teens who are battling their own mental illnesses. He slowly becomes friends with some of the teens, and tries to help them with their struggles, along with getting better himself. However, one situation that occurs is so shocking that Caden doesn’t know if he will be swallowed whole by the gaping jaws of schizophrenia, or if he’ll manage to get out alive. Will Caden have the courage and strength to battle his mental illness and win, for now? To find out and follow Caden through his journey, read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. This novel is about courage, self-reflection, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, psychosis, paranoia, mania, and anxiety. Challenger Deep lets people who have been there know that they are not alone in their struggles. In the last pages of the novel, Shusterman provides resources and help for those dealing with mental illness.

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Giant Days Series

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Review by: laurae87

Giant Days, an on-going comic book series by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Lissa Treiman, follows Esther, Daisy, and Susan throughout their journey of interesting college situations.

The three college freshmen, although having vastly different personalities, end up becoming close friends due to being assigned in adjacent residence hall rooms. Esther de Groot enjoys listening to black metal, boxing, and dressing in gothic fashion, all while emitting a “drama field” and trying to recover from a recent relationship breakup. Daisy Wooton is an innocent, loving, and trusting optimist who tries to resolve problems with pacifism. Susan Ptolemy is a realist medical student who is trying to forget her ex. All three girls have very different backstories and dispositions, but they share three main things in common: friendship, attempts at self-discovery, and relationship problems. Once the girls are finally done settling in to college life, though, everything changes. Esther gains a secret admirer, Susan’s ex comes back into her life, and Daisy finds a love interest that might just turn her world upside-down! Find out what happens next in Giant Days!

I recommend this series to teens and college students. While high-school-age teenagers may not relate to the troubles of college life, they will, however, relate to the main characters and the crazy (but realistic) ordeals that everyday life manages to throw at them. Overall, this is my favorite comic book series and I enjoy reading it due to its relatability, comedic elements, art style, and interesting character development.