172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad Review

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Title: 172 Hours on the Moon
Author: Johan Harstand
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: April 17, 2012
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Page: 355
Source: Publisher
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.
NASA has decided to re-open its space exploration program. This time, it's different though. It's been a long time since anyone has visited the moon, and NASA has opened a worldwide lottery for teens and children to experience space firsthand. Mia is certain that her place is in punk rock, but her parents have other ideas. Midori wants freedom and believes a taste of fame will get her to America. Antoine wants nothing more to disappear and get away from his ex. It's the perfect chance to reinvent themselves and have a one in a million experience. The opportunity is so amazing, it might just be to die for.

I'm a sucker for horror, but allow me to delve a little deeper into that statement, please. I'm the girl that sat through Paranormal Activity after pushing to have it released in Utah, only to watch the entire movie through my fingers with my ears plugged THEN "sleep" with the light on for three days straight. Yes, I'm a hero. Well, needless to say, when I saw the reviews for 172 Hours on the Moon were mentioning an eerie, creepy and altogether horrific vibe, I obviously had to read it. Johan Harstad has crafted an ingenious blend of action, suspense, mystery, sci-fi and a touch of horror - just frightening enough to keep you awake at night wondering...what if? With a rich, vivid cast of characters and an explosive plot, it's sure to meet readers of a host of different genres.

172 Hours on the Moon is a bit of a different novel for me in that it was first published in the author's native Norway. Now, this can often lead to plot complications, mild language/content relationship and meaning mishaps, or in severe cases, an actual failure in story execution. This novel, however, didn't fall prey to these common ailments. There was something so eerily fantastic about the plot of the book that kept me riveted. While, at times, there was a touch of predictability in what was to come, the foreboding and foreshadowing was just strong enough to keep me tangled in the web of the story. Mia, Midori and Antoine were all fantastic characters. The fact that they were so vastly different from one another really enhanced the plot because we get to see the actions from three distinct viewpoints, which is a true asset. I loved that the three teenagers added just enough naivety to offset the distinct and tangible tension surrounding the veteran astronauts and the mission, furthering that horror-like feel for when the action really took off. While yes, parts were a bit too convenient or predictable, I'll bet that 172 Hours on the Moon will have you in its vice-like grip, too.

Overall, despite its flaws, 172 Hours on the Moon was a solid, engaging read. I think it's one that I'll let stew for awhile then read again, and I hope that readers will give it a chance. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy sci-fi and horror.

I received this book free of charge from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I've been looking and waiting for reviews of this one after being curious for a long time. So glad to hear it was a horrific read. I would be disappointed if it didn't match up to that creeptastic cover, after all!

  2. Hmm...this does not sound like a book for me, but the idea of it sounds fascinating. Actually, it sounds rather silly - sending teens up into space for exploration. But clearly the author did a good job on making the plot feel truly scary and disturbing.

  3. This book sounds so fun! I love space and have not read a good space book in a while. Great review.

  4. It certainly does! I hope you give it a shot! :)

  5. I'd read a couple reviews but they hadn't mentioned this was horror! Very cool, I'm much more eager to check it out now... Thanks for the review!

  6. I'd read a couple reviews but they hadn't mentioned this was horror! Very cool, I'm much more eager to check it out now... Thanks for the review!

  7. That cover completely freaks me out. Big eye. No pupil...just the moon. *shudder* Foreshadowing, when done well, can really make a scary book stand out. It's the anticipation, the waiting that gets me.

  8. I was just about to say that I liked that the teens were from the all over the world, but with him being from Norway, well then it makes sense

  9. This is the second review I've read for this book, and now I want to read it even more! The story sounds really intriguing. I really want to know what horrors are out there to harass the teens on the moon.

    I'm not a fan of horror movies at all, but when it comes to books it's an entirely different story. I used to read horror novels all the time when I was a tween. I've not read too many since because they weren't scary or spooky enough for me. This one might actually give me hope for horror novels for young adults!


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