Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman | Audiobook ReviewChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Narrator: Michael Curran-Dorsano
Length: 8 Hours 13 Minutes
Published by Harper Collins on April 21st 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Depression, Boys & Men
Pages: 320
Format: Audiobook, eARC, ARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780062231727

National Book Award and Golden Kite Award Winner
A captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.
Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images.Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.Caden Bosch is torn.
Challenger Deep is a deeply powerful and personal novel from one of today's most admired writers for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak, calls Challenger Deep "a brilliant journey across the dark sea of the mind; frightening, sensitive, and powerful. Simply extraordinary."

Why Did I Listen To Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman?

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman won the National Book Award. I have this preconceived notion that books that win awards tend to be of higher quality than books that do not win awards. After having this book on my shelf for months on end, I decided to bite the bullet and listen to the audiobook. Further, I thought that audio would increase the likelihood that I would enjoy Challenger Deep. Also, I find the subject matter of mental illness to be quite interesting – as that is the field in which I currently work.

What’s The Story Here?

Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep is about a main character named Caden Bosch. Caden does really well in high school. He’s got a pretty good group of friends, too. Also his family seems wonderful as well. Alas, Caden is very much inside his own head. You see, running parallel to Caden’s story is this rich inner life, where Caden is a deep sea explorer, aboard a ship about to explore the Marianas Trench.

Obviously, we know that he’s imagining it all, but going through the chapters of exploration, it feels real. These bits are richly detailed and fully fleshed out. Anyways, Caden ends up going inpatient and getting treatment for his mental health disorder and the two storylines end up converging. It’s brilliantly done.

What Did I Think Of Challenger Deep?

Overall, I felt like Challenger Deep was a fascinating book. I feel like I rarely read about mental illness and when I do, not so much about the inner world of it. It also seems like a rarity to have books exploring what it is to go inpatient and to receive intensive treatment beyond the three days of crisis treatment. Plus, I liked the dimension that was added by the Marianas Trench bits.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook is narrated by Michael Curran-Dorsano. He does an okay job but I’ll be honest and admit it felt a little bit like the poor man’s Nick Podehl. Sure, I am biased, but the two narrators do sound a lot alike. I think that if you do end up reading Challenger Deep, it would be best to go for the physical book. The audiobook gets really confusing. Plus there’s pictures that you miss out on. I think that I probably would have retained more had I read the physical copy instead of listened.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

How I felt at various points while listening to this book.

Other reviews of Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman:

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but I also have heard that this one is not an easy read. Nevertheless, I’m really excited for this book. I also didn’t know there are illustrations in the book, now I’ll definitely try to find a physical copy of this book! Thanks for sharing!
    Tasya recently posted..March Wrap Up & April TBR // There… and Back AgainMy Profile


  1. […] narrator for Ivory And Bone is Michael Curran-Dorsano. He also narrated the audiobook of Challenger Deep. I think he is a decent narrator, and for sure […]

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