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172 Hours on the Moon Hardcover – April 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


A 2013 YALSA Teens Top Ten Nominee
Dagbaldet's Best Norwegian YA Novel of All Time

"This irresistible premise is often intoxicating and occasionally downright terrifying.... pretty darn effective."―Booklist

"Imaginative.... Well-crafted suspense.... Interesting and original."―Kirkus Reviews

"Harstad combines the perfectly paced creepiness of classic Twilight Zone episodes with Battlestar Galactica's chilling portrayal of the vast, unknowable emptiness of space."―Romantic Times

"Creepy and bleak, Harstad's story is both psychologically and atmospherically disturbing."―Publishers Weekly

"Original, creepy, intense... 172 Hours is page-turning sci-fi that will stay with readers long after the shocking and heartbreaking conclusion."―School Library Journal

"Surprisingly creepy.... The novel's strength is its rising tension and skin-crawling conclusion: Scandinavian thriller meets sci-fi horror movie."―VOYA

"Hard to put down."―Library Media Connection

About the Author

Johan Harstad won the 2008 Norwegian Brage Award in the young adult/children's literature category for172 Hours on the Moon. He has also written several novels for adults, including Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?, a Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of 2011 book, which has been published in thirteen countries; four plays; a collection of short stories; and a prose collection. He has been described as "one of the most important [Scandinavian] authors to emerge in the early years of this century." He lives in Oslo, Norway.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316182881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316182881
  • ASIN: 0316182885
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jerry on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
I don't normally bother doing reviews on books I like or don't like. This is a first for me as the book was so bizarrely bad that I wanted to save others from reading it.

This book appears to try to be a combination of "hard" science fiction (that is, scientifically accurate) and horror. As horror goes, it's not that horrifying and the epilogue seems to completely undo the "horrifying" finale. As science fiction, it's just awful.

The author appears to have vaguely heard about NASA and the Apollo era moon missions but didn't seem to bother doing much research on how NASA does things. Have a lottery to send three teenagers (along with fully trained astronauts) on the first mission back to the moon after 40 years of absence using untested hardware? Well, that's pretty ludicrous but even ignoring that, NASA would not just randomly pick 3 "winners" and send them. They would pick a larger group (I'm guessing about two dozen), interview the hell out of them, test them physically, mentally and psychologically and eventually boil it down to a primary team and a backup team at minimum.

When the astronauts and teenagers land on the moon, it's practically on top of the Apollo 11 landing site. In the real world, NASA would send them someplace more geologically (I know, "selenologically" or whatever) interesting. The Apollo 11 site was chose as it was bland and relatively safe. When they leave the lander and first step on the moon, do they have any inspiring words for the folks back home? Nope, not a one. Oh, they do take time to put a plastic box over Neil Armstrong's first footprint on the moon. As if they could tell which one that was as it would have been trampled over by Amstrong and Aldrin during their two lunar walks.

What do they do next?
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Title Tracks on August 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I heard a representative of the publisher of 172 Hours on the Moon tell about how terrifying it is. After reading the book, I now understand that she was terrified because it is her responsibility to promote it. Johan Harstad's book centers around three teenagers who are chosen via worldwide lottery to take part in NASA's first trip back to the moon in 40 years. Mia, from Norway, only agrees to go because she wants to create publicity for her band. Midori plans to use the mission as her chance to leave Japan for good and settle in the U.S. Antoine just wants to put as much distance as possible between he and his ex-girlfriend.

In the chapters before the launch, Harstad gives indications that the mission won't go as smoothly as planned. Something spooky happened on the last mission, scary enough to keep NASA away from the moon for a few decades. Unfortunately, the book does not follow through on the promised suspense. First of all, this is supposed to be a book about scary stuff happening on the moon, but the characters don't even leave earth until half way through the book. Harstad used too many pages trying to set the scene and build up the characters and he wasn't even successful doing that. None of the teens are particularly sympathetic and the adults are completely unrealistic.

Flat characters would be fine if the suspense and action were able to carry the day. But that just didn't happen in this case. Even after they reached the moon and some freaky stuff started happening, there was just too little action. The events that did occur were generally unrealistic or insufficiently depicted. Overall, 172 Hours on the Moon is just a poorly written book. It seemed to me more like 172 Years Reading This Book. If it weren't for the fact that I was planning to review this book for the blog, I would have stopped long before the liftoff!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Js VINE VOICE on September 12, 2012
Format: Preloaded Digital Audio Player
This is a flatly written description of a space horror movie written at or translated at the young adult level (if the young adult is a dullard). The dialog is not believable,the motivations are silly, the grasp of physics and technology is tenuous, and the ending is predictable. Not a pleasure at all.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brenna on April 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
172 Hours on the Moon was one book that immediately caught my eye when I came across it, and I was THRILLED when I had an opportunity to read it in advance of the release date.

I haven't read very many horror/thriller books before, so I didn't think this one would be able to scare me. I didn't understand how a book could keep you up at night, burrowed under your blankets for safety, while frantically turning the pages... until I read 172 Hours on the Moon.

Reasons to Read:

1.Well-translated novel:

172 Hours on the Moon was first published in 2008 in Norway; when I found this out, I was a little bit worried that the writing would be awkward or the translating sloppy. But once I started reading the book, I completely forgot it had ever been translated at one point. It's very well done, and I was thoroughly impressed with the translator, who did an excellent job at keeping the atmosphere of the book while putting it in another language- a VERY difficult thing to do. Don't let the fact that this is translated stop you from picking it up.

2.Suspenseful, creepy read:

The first thing 172 Hours on the Moon does in the prologue is get the creepy factor going. I started reading this book at night - terrible idea. And the next day I read it while I was home alone - another bad idea. Although there's a gradual build up to the actual events on the moon by giving some background information, the creepiness starts well before the crew's trip into space. And it just doesn't stop! From the very first chapter to the last one, this book is riddled with some scary stuff. But I want to point out that it's all a very subtle kind of scary; it's disturbing, and delightfully creepy but it also isn't the most terrifying thing I've ever read.
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