Review Work Part 2 – Two Reviews for a Teen Audience


Challenger Deep
Written by Neal Shusterman
New York: HarperTeen, 2015.

Caden Bosch is a boy slipping into schizophrenia. He hallucinates that he is living his life on a pirate ship (and people in the psychiatric ward are the ship’s crew) traveling to the deepest point on earth – the Mariana Trench – as he embarks on his own journey with his mental health.

A fascinating book by Neal Shusterman, whose own son Brendan battled schizophrenia when he was 16 years old. In the story, Caden is an artist, and draws throughout the story. The book contains drawings by Neal’s son Brendan, who created them when he was experiencing his own schizophrenic episodes – so it is not all fiction.


The book creates an opportunity for open dialog about mental health issues and their stigmas. Caden is a very likable character, and the story shows his gradual, but noticable decline into schizophrenia. Throughout, he remains someone you can understand and sympathize with. If you want to learn more about mental health issues through an amazing book that is action-packed and humorous, check out Challenger Deep.




Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012.

Aristotle (Ari) and Dante meet one summer at the El Paso swimming pool. While they couldn’t be more different from each other, they become fast friends (as do their parents), and evolve and grow to love and support each other for the unique people they are.

A great coming of age story about two teens trying to figure out how they fit into the world, and each other’s lives. All teens will enjoy this story of family, love, and the pondering of the big questions.

Bonus:  the audio book reading is done by Lin-Manuel Miranda. With the amazingly well-written dialog, he brought the characters to life.


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