Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Book Reviews

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

4 Stars

Ahh, I made the mistake of reading this book at night time!

I’m used to YA books I pick up being cutesy and full of “aww” but 172 Hours on the Moon was anything but that! It follows the story of three teenagers from around the world who win a lottery to travel to the moon and stay there for 172 hours. NASA ran this lottery as a way to revive the space program and get Earth’s youth involved and interested in astronomy. Unfortunately, NASA has kept hidden important details and the crew of 8 quickly realizes that this trip to the moon was a mistake.

“In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Our three main characters are 16-year-old Mia, 16-year-old Midori, and 17-year-old Antoine. They each have a completely different reason for wanting to travel to the moon, but none have an actual interest in the moon itself. Mia wants fame for her band, Antoine wants to get back at his ex-girlfriend, and Midori simply wants a ticket out of her Japan. From all the reasons, Midori’s is the one I could relate to the most. I’ve always loved traveling and luckily I’ve always been able to. Midori feels like she lives somewhere she can’t escape. She’s got what I like to call “a caged gypsy soul” and I was excited for her to have won.

Throughout the story, we have several different side characters that are introduced. Johan Harstad did a great job at making those characters feel just as important as the three main characters. This book is told from multiple points of view and I never felt bored or distracted by the different side stories. This only helped to build up the main plot and give it more depth.

The story takes quite a while to really pick up since the first half of the book is spent learning about each character, the lottery process, and their training with NASA. Once the rocket took off though, so did the story! I don’t think a book had ever really scared me before. This one, however, made me feel jumpy. I was reading in bed and got startled (several times) by something as simple as my boyfriend walking in!

I loved that the author never made you feel sure about how the story would end. That’s not to say I didn’t guess right, but that’s only because I had 5 different guesses! Lol One thing I will definitely take from this book is that I will never look at the moon the same way again! If you are into YA and looking for something different from the typical high school love story, then I suggest you pick this one up!

Book Info

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Published by Little, Brown BfYR
Pub Date: April 17th 2012
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover | Source: Library
Genres: FantasyMysteryParanormalSci-FiSuspenseYoung Adult
Buy the book! | 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.

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

9 Responses to “Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad”

  1. Avatar


    Brilliant review Rubi! :) I’m not big into scifi, but this actually sounds really good. I always knew those sneaky Nasa are concealing things ;)

    • Rubi @ Gone with the Words

      Rubi @ Gone with the Words

      Thanks so much, Catherine! What I really liked is that the author kept all the techy talk to a very minimum so it didn’t feel scifi. Let me know what you think about it if you do end up picking it up!

  2. Avatar

    Alexa @ Words Off the Page

    Sounds like a darker version of The Martian except no one wants to help them haha. This sounds a lot like the older Twilight Zone-beginning of Sci Fi novels and I’m really interested in how the characters get out of this. I’ll definitely have this in my radar!

    • Rubi @ Gone with the Words

      Rubi @ Gone with the Words

      Thank you, Emily! I will say that although The Martian had a lot more humor involved, it had loads of more “science talk”. 172 Hours on the Moon has more of a paranormal/YA feel than scifi and it’s a LOT more creepy. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it!

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