172 Hours on the Moon By: Johan Harstad

Every thought how cool it would be to go to the moon? To walk where the world’s most famous astronauts set foot on that dusty, faraway place? Perhaps you’ve envisioned this grand vacation before and are wondering what it would mean to be able to cross that off your bucket list. After reading 172 Hours on the Moon I can guarantee that you’ll never have any doubts about this imagined dream vacation! In fact, once you read this book, you’ll never dream of leaving Earth again! 172 Hours on the Moon is a suspenseful, creepy, “sitting on the edge of your seat” book. It keeps you reading for fear that if you close the book the very creepy storyline will haunt you until you get closure from having read it cover to cover.

172 Hours on the Moon is about NASA having a hard time with lack of funding and media attention. Desperate, they decide to reopen an abandoned moon base and hold a world-wide lottery (http://www.172hoursonthemoon.com/) in order to choose three teenagers to embark on this trip to the moon. The media explodes with the news for months on end as everyone who is between the ages of fourteen and eighteen sign up for this amazing opportunity. The three winning teenagers, Mia from Norway, Midori from Japan and Antoine from France, will train for a few months before they embark for a week-long trip (172 hours) on the moon base called DARLAH-2. NASA says that the reopening of the base is to start harvesting a natural resource on the moon that will improve the technologies on Earth. However, NASA doesn’t tell all their secrets and the three “lucky” teenagers,  are in for a trip of a lifetime. That is if they make it back to Earth.

I am not a horror book/movie kind of person, and I’d definitely label 172 Hours on the Moon as being a horror book. The ending had a twist that I saw coming, but that didn’t make me slowdown or stop in my reading. I breezed through this book in hopes to finish it, put it on a shelf, and never read it again. Not because the book wasn’t good, it was magnificent actually! But because I saw the ending coming and it still freaked me out!

Johan Harstad wrote very well and I agree that using third person to tell the story was a great idea. His writing style fit perfectly with the terror in the book. Think of his writing like a quiet, whispering style of writing. Like every word whispered out loud would bring the horror to your own room. It was creepy and definitely added to the book drawing you into its dark and eerie pages. I’m sure that it would’ve been even creepier had it not been translated from Norwegian to English but I also feel that this book, though terrifying, was confusing. Like something was always missing. This could also be a translating thing, but there seemed to be places in the book where the reader really should know a bit more information- unless that was Johan Harstad’s original idea to leave the reader with more questions with each page turned. For this I give the book a 3 out of 5 stars. While well written, I’m not a fan of having a million unanswered questions at the end of a book. I don’t mind a few unanswered questions, because it is common knowledge that if you leave a reader’s imagination up to the answers, the reader will scare themselves more than the author could,  but this was too many questions for me.

What I did like about this book was how the book drew me in and kept me there! As frightened as I was it was easy to grip the book tightly and read as fast as possible to find out if my hunches were correct and to get to the parts that made my mind scream, “OH MY GOSH THAT JUST TOTALLY HAPPENED! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??” I loved the style of writing and I also enjoyed the ending. Not because I saw it coming, but because it was not a cliff hanger-it was a chopped off ending of suspense that worked wonderfully for this book! It kept me thinking about it for days after I read this book and I can’t help but think about it randomly since. All in all, the ending was great! Even if it did scare me to death and give me an irrational fear of the moon!

Overall I recommend this book to anyone who likes horror, suspense and science fiction/young adult books. I probably wouldn’t encourage anyone who is easily frightened, or under the age of 12 to read this book-just in case- because it does give the reader a bit of panic by the end. (Note: If you want to read this book, and suspense and horror are not your thing, I highly suggest starting it on an early Saturday morning and finishing it before bedtime…I made the mistake of finishing this book at 12:30 am on a work night and let’s just say that I got zero hours of sleep that night! 🙂 )

Have you read 172 Hours on the Moon? What did you think of it? Were you scared by the end? Or did you figure out the twist in the ending before the last page?



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