So these are not guaranteed to be clean teen reads. This list is made up of the stories and characters which most captured me, deprived me of sleep or free thought until I’d finished the very last page or beyond. Read my reviews (click the book title) for more information on content of each novel. Enjoy!
1. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – I loved that Shusterman took us on this journey through mental illness and it felt so authentic. At the same time the metaphorical structure made it easy to follow the story and added to its complexity.
Caden Bosch is caught between two worlds. In one, he is an ordinary teen who works on illustrations for a video game he and his friends develop. In the other, he is a passenger on a pirate ship en route to Challenger Deep, the lowest point of the Marianas Trench.
As his hold on reality slips, his friends and family begin to notice that something is wrong, but they are powerless to help him. Sometimes even Caden knows the impossibility of things he believes. But in the next moment, he may be powerless to doubt them.