EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment has acquired Challenger Deep, the YA novel by Neal Shusterman that was the center of a bidding battle last week after it won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature a couple of weeks ago. The deal was made out of Chernin’s discretionary fund which is set up at 20th Century Fox.
The book tells the story about a 15-year-old boy afflicted with schizophrenia who imagines himself on a pirate ship voyaging through the Pacific Ocean. It is inspired by Shusterman’s son Brendan and his struggle with mental illness; Brendan’s illustrations are featured throughout the novel. HarperCollins published the book in April and it won the National Book Award
Shusterman will co-produce and adapt the screenplay with Underground’s Trevor Engelson producing alongside Chernin Entertainment. His previous novels include the Unwind trilogy, and he is also co-writing a backdoor pilot for Disney XD with Eric Elfman based on their middle-grade series The Accelerati Trilogy.
He is repped by APA, Underground and attorney Shep Rosenman.