Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon
By Johan Harstad
355 Pages
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date (US): April 17, 2012
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

It’s been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA’s unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space–and change their lives forever.

Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band’s ticket to fame and fortune.

Midori believes it’s her way out of her restrained life in Japan.

Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space… no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.

There aren’t a lot of things that scare me, but outer space is one of them. It’s so vast and empty (except for the planets, stars, space junk, etc.) and nobody truly knows what could be lurking out there. So it’s not a surprise that I found 172 Hours on the Moon to be really, really creepy.

The first part of the book takes place on earth, and this is the slower part of the book. It’s kind of like the pre-game stuff: the introduction to the contest, meeting the winners, etc. All of the characters have their stories told, but Mia gets the most time. I actually liked her the least of the three. She was kind of the petulant one, to an extent. There was actually some surprising creepy stuff before they even left for the moon concerning Midori, but in the second part when they get to the moon? Shit goes down. I was reading toward the end of the book at night and had to take my dogs outside in the dark. I was CREEPED. OUT. And that never happens to me.

I also liked the format of the book. It had some cool pictures mixed in to illustrate the story and I felt like it really added to the atmosphere and the book overall. It would have been fine without it, but it was just a little something extra.

There were also cool pop culture references. The Space Shuttle Challenger was mentioned, and I distinctly remember watching that when I was a little kid. Mia is trying to get into Talking Heads because she knows as a musician that she “should like them,” and their song Nothing But Flowers is referenced. I’m not a huge Talking Heads fan, but I really like that song a lot.

The ending was sliiiightly predictable, but it was definitely the best way it could have ended. Highly recommended read (but don’t read it in the dark).

4.5/5 Stars

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve always felt the same way about outer space. I’m fascinated by what’s in it, but the “emptiness” of it, at least to us humans, is scary.

    The minute you emphasized that this is a creepy book, you convinced me to pick it up. I don’t know why, but I’ve been looking for a book like that, the kind I shouldn’t read in the dark but likely will anyway haha. This is a great review!

    Reply
  2. I love space shit. I dont find it as scary as I find it fascinating. Although the end of the world shows where they talk about the sun blowing up, that scares me. lol

    I want to know what creepy stuff goes down! might have to read this one. 🙂

    Reply

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