Thursday, June 7, 2012

review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

pub date: April 17, 2012
publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
pages: 355
source: for review at Kiss the Book
appeals: Space!, horror, scifi, suspense, life and death, future-ish
content: some swearing

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.
I do not read suspense often, but I'm assuming that suspense books normally focus on story, and not so much on character's development. The first half of this story focused on characters, mostly the three teens who are chosen to go to the moon. But I never felt attached to the characters and there didn't seem to be much to them and they weren't really developed. Since there wasn't much going on, it was a little slow. And boring. It took me a week to get through the first half of the book.

Once the five astronauts and three teens got to the moon...much more interesting. Things were happening, people were dying (was that a spoiler? sorry if you hadn't guessed that already), and the suspense was good. But I also felt like it was rushed. Like I said, I don't read suspense so maybe I don't know what I'm writing about, but I think the suspense would have been more suspenseful if it had built over days, instead of hours. They are supposed to be on the moon for 172 of them, not 20. If between horrific events, the characters stewed about it a while... But, whatever. There was suspense and my interest was held. My impression of the book went up quite a bit.

I read the last of it while I was house sitting...and it rather freaked me out. I was in a strange house with strange noises. It was cool.

As for the premise...sending random teens up into space? Really? I get the publicity aspect of sending the teens (sort of), but I also thought it was a stupid idea. Especially because the higher ups at NASA have top secret information and they have specific goals for going to the moon (I think) and teens would just get in the way. And it's dangerous.

The whole, "what else is on the moon," question...the answer is odd. But cool. And the ending was good.

Let me just say, these "possibilities" will never come true.

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