172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Release Date: April 5, 2012 (US Publication Date)
Reading level: Young Adult
Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back.
It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2—a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world.
But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now—a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun.
-- from Goodreads.com
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I'm not sure where I first heard about this book but the moment I saw the above video, I knew I had to read it. I'm not one for watching book trailers but the way in which they were done was more intriguing than detrimental to the book & once I got into the pages I was NOT disappointed! Not only is 172 Hours on the Moon a fast-paced, thriller but it is also rich with character & some pretty creepy history too.
First, the whole idea of teens going into space is completely preposterous because of how much of a liability they would be but I loved that Mr. Harstad made it all seem so plausible. The story is mostly told between the points of views of the 3 teens: Antoine, a French teen looking to escape his own heart break, Midori, a creative Japanese girl who yearns for freedom, and Mia, a Norwegian rock band member who has no desire whatsoever to go into space. Each is unique with differing interpretations of their surroundings & the events taking place. Each places different value on different details & bits of dialogue which, when added all together, we are treated to a very well-rounded, full look at the story.
The history of the DARLAH station & the moon missions were maybe my most favorite parts of the story though the revelation of all the information behind everything came deliciously slowly. I loved the weaving of fact with fiction throughout the entire 328 pages, all the way to the very end with an epilogue of people who are landing on the in the future.
The story moved quickly & I was easily immersed right into the middle of the situation with the characters. The mood was dark & very creepy throughout which I greatly relished because, as a horror movie fan, I felt I was in the midst of one myself. The end of the book, the climax of all the build up, was absolutely fantastic & completely terrifying. I loved every minute of this book & would love to read more just like it so I hope it spawns a few similar ideas with their own unique spins.
172 Hours on the Moon is a must read for anyone who enjoys sci-fi thrillers. I found myself thinking of movies like Event Horizon, Pandorum, Supernova, & Sphere. Not to mention the multiple mentions of horrific Japanese superstitions about ghosts such as the Slash Mouth Woman which seriously added to the scary ambiance throughout the novel. I recommend that if you're easily creeped out, read this one with the light on & not under the covers with a flashlight!
About the Author:
Johan Harstad is a 31-year-old Norwegian author, graphic designer, playwright, drummer, and international sensation. He is the winner of the 2008 Brage Award (Brageprisen), previously won by Per Petterson, and his books have been published in over 11 countries. In 2009, he was named the first ever in-house playwright at the National Theatre in Oslo. His first novel Buzz Aldrin, What Happened To You In All The Confusion, originally published in Norway by Gyldendal in 2005, was made into a TV series in 2009 starring The Wire’s Chad Coleman. Harstad lives in Oslo and is working on his next novel.
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