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Mon, Nov 27



Book Club 8th - 9th grade: Challenger Deep

Book Club 8th - 9th grade: Challenger Deep
Book Club 8th - 9th grade: Challenger Deep

Time & Location

Nov 27, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM CST

Juergen's, 26026 Hempstead Rd, Cypress, TX 77429, USA


About the Event

Coordinator:  Lauren Duffy

Grades: 8th - 9th grades

Book: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

For questions and comments, please use this forum:


Book Description: 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 is 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.

Disclaimers about book’s content: The main character deals with schizophrenia.

Discussion Topics: identity, empathy

Questions for students:

  1. How does this book portray mental illness, specifically schizophrenia? What aspects of Caden’s experiences resonated with you the most?
  2. What did you think of the two narratives in this book, Caden’s reality and his time on Challenger Deep? Did you enjoy both, and prefer one over the other?
  3. What does “Challenger Deep” mean in this story? What parts of that narrative could you see in Caden’s ‘reality,’ and in what ways did they manifest?
  4. Discuss the significance of the “pirates” in Caden’s imagination. What do you think they represent and how do they aid or hinder his journey?
  5. What did you think about the drawings throughout the book? Do you think that they added to the story? Why or why not?
  6. This novel touches on the theme of identity. How does Caden’s perception of himself change throughout the story, and what factors influence this transformation?
  7. Would you recommend this book to teens who are struggling with mental health issues? Why or why not? If not, to whom would you recommend this book?
  8. By the time the story is wrapping up, it becomes clear that Caden is not going to have the same friends in his life coming out of his experience as he did coming in. What did you think of this? Do you think it is realistic?
  9. Challenger Deep portrays the challenges faced by people dealing with mental illness and the importance of empathy and understanding. What lessons can readers take away from the novel in terms of supporting those who may be struggling with their mental health?
  10. Would you consider reading more books by this author?

Materials students need to bring: Graphic Novel, and pencils.

Activity, craft, or game: Students will develop a map that indicates where the pirate ship travels in the story. Where is the Marianas Trench located?





  • 8th- 9th grade







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