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172 Hours on the Moon

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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. . .

368 pages, Paperback

First published September 15, 2008

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About the author

Johan Harstad

26 books574 followers
Johan Harstad is a 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,046 reviews
January 12, 2016

This is the dumbest book I've read this year. Granted, we're only a few days into 2016, but the fact remains that this book is awful. Here are the reasons why:

1. Everyone says OMG THIS BOOK IS SO SCARY. It was not. It was boring. 50% of the book is spent introducing us to the bratty and annoying Mia, the token Japanese girl (she's Japanese so she can tell scary Japanese stories), and the spectacularly unmemorable Mia

2. It was boring. Seriously. You could skip to the last 15% of the book and know what you need to know

3. Zero character development. Completely needless moment of romance where Mia and Antoine know each other for all of a few pages and all of a sudden kisses. Like what? Why? Where did that come from?

4. It was boring. In case I haven't made that quite clear

5. It was hilariously, spectacularly, hysterically unbelievable.

Let me talk to you for a moment about willing suspension of disbelief. It is a tool passively exercised by the reader to believe what we read in a book is within the realm of possibility. Vampires exist, you say? So it shall me.

In order for willing suspension of disbelief to happen, there has to be an iota of credibility, some tiny fragment that makes our mind say "this could be true, there's a slight chance this might happen." It sets up for the enjoyment of a book. That's what powers the imagination, the spark of possibility.

As for this book, my book reaction is: BWAHAAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA LOLOLOL ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME? Because there is no way in hell anything in this book is believable.

The premise: NASA runs out of funding, so they decided to hold a publicity event to send some random ass 14-18 years old to the moon.

WHAT?! WHAT THE FUCK?! In what universe is that even remotely possible?! It takes astronauts years and years of training, advanced degrees, physical and mental tests have to be passed in order to get chosen for a mission. And they're selecting KIDS and sending them up there with little to no training at all?! Throw in three kids and have them talk to each other when they're all from different countries?! Completely absurd. I can't for a single moment forget how dumb this premise is. It is the book's responsibility to make me feel like what happens is a possibility, and this book did not do that.

Plus, it was so boring, guys.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
July 26, 2018
the mooooooon! in spaaaaaace!!!

important distinction: this is not a sci-fi novel,it is a horror novel set in space.

and it needs to be said: the premise of this book is bananas. buh.na.nuhs.

so, NASA decides to go to the moon again. and to select three teenagers to accompany trained astronauts up there. for publicity. and ostensibly this mission is to get tantalum seventy-three from the moon, but really, REALLY - it is because some fucked-up shit happened there that was all covered up, and they want to see if it is still there. basically. and there's this space station that was built remotely by machines and the astronauts can stay in it even though it has been just sitting up there untouched and - sure it's safe, stop asking questions. and don't ask about the fucked-up shit. that is classified. just shut up and get us some teens. so NASA, the national aeronautics and space administration, selects three kids from a worldwide lottery to go up into space. and none of them are american, strangely, even though they make a point somewhere in here that they need to get this done before someone else does, presumably a non-american nation. so why not keep it in-house with american teens if the whole public relations thing was supposed to garner publicity for NASA?? no one knows.NASA was feeling generous that day.

but what a dumb idea - kids can't even be trusted to behave in a bookstore, you think they are going to be any better on the moon? never mind in the spaceship itself...i don't care how carefully considered is your application/lottery process. and about that - these are the best three? a girl who coasts by on c's in school and wants to like the talking heads more than she actually likes them because it is cool to like 80's art rock and is melodramatic, "the only boy she ever had a chance to love...."?? sob. and a boy who peeps at his ex from a coin-operated viewing device at the eiffel tower? these are the most academically talented and psychologically competent teens that could be found? out of millions? in the world?

yeesh. we are fucked.

so we have:

a norwegian girl who wants to catapult her rock band to fame. whose parents filled out her application without her knowledge. yeah, real strenuous screening process.

a japanese fashionista who wants to leave behind her small, repressed town and escape to new york city

a french boy trying to get over a girl.naturally.

and so they are chosen and they are sent off to texas for their rigorous training session for several months, which is completely elided! why? that should be one of the coolest parts! i want to know what is so special about these kids and why they made the cut! everyone knows that the best part of heist movies is the "gathering the team" montage. it is stupid to have neglected to write what should have been the most interesting scenes! i want to know about these physical tests, and the special astronaut secrets! lame.

because i don't believe in NASA. i like to take conspiracy theories one step further, and for all those people out there who believe that the moon landing was a hoax, i like to tell them i think the moon is a hoax. who can say it really exists?? the tides??? tides are caused by impatient whale-fathers in the whale-delivery room, waiting for their whale-wives to deliver their whale-young. prove they're not.

so, at one point, when one of the characters barks, "fuck the moon!" i am right on board. fuck the nonexistent moon and the NASA that would have you believe in it. NASA is just a drug front, like that deli on the corner with the week-old newspapers and dusty soda cans. fact.

the best part of this book were the chapters from the POV of the alzheimers patient formerly employed as a janitor at NASA. i really wish there had been more of his story.

this is a serious and true spoiler:

okay, those of you who couldn't resist spoiling know that that was not at all a spoiler. it was a false spoiler-buffer for those of you who cannot control your urge to click on spoiler tags.

this is the real spoiler:

okay, that one was a lie, too. this one is real, though. DO NOT CLICK!

more spoilers that fall under the category of "things i do not understand about this book":

these spoilers fall under the category of "things i enjoyed", or "talking shit about the moon":

so - not a great book, because i have too many questions, but some of the action sequences were excellent, especially wilson and stanton's big scene. really scary stuff, there.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.1k followers
May 2, 2013
I need to gather my thoughts, talk with Raeleen, but just know that this is probably the most terrifying books I have ever read.
Profile Image for Paulo Ratz.
185 reviews5,004 followers
September 19, 2020
Segundo livro da minha vida que li em 1 dia só e posso dizer que ó... É uma bosta.

Só ganhou 3 estrelas por conta das ultimas 5..7 páginas, porque seria um 2 estrelas bem merecido.

E olha que eu sou fácil de agradar hein, mas que livro mal escrito. Me senti vendo aquelas filmes cagadissimos com Nicolas Cage que tem muito hype e divulgação e depois flopa pq é uma bosta e ganha o Framboesa de Ouro.
96 reviews505 followers
March 10, 2013
172 HOURS ON THE MOON is frightening. The hold-me-I'm-shaking-I'll-never-look-at-the-universe-the-same-way-again type of frightening. Call it whatever you'd like: nightmare-inducing, chilling, fear on paper. Whatever you do call it, 172 HOURS ON THE MOON is bound to scare the crap out of you.

I mean, unless you're one of them.

172 HOURS ON THE MOON is 355 pages of pure terror written by Johan Harstad, a Norwegian man who obviously must've gone to the moon and experienced these things to write about them so... gorgeously.

It tells the tale of three teens from around the world that have won the NASA lottery for a chance to go to the moon. Each teenager has their own reasons for wanting to get away: Mia, from Norway, who wants to publicize her band; Midori, from Japan, who longs to escape from her controlled life in Japan; and Antoine, from France, who just wants to GET AWAY FROM HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND that is so French I can't even omg

But they're not the only ones on the moon, and when you're being hunted 238,900 miles away from the Earth, no one's coming to save you.

"We don't belong here. Not at all."


First of all, this book gave me all the feels. And by feels I mean waking up in cold sweat, being afraid to go out at night and see the moon, and constantly wanting to talk to my best friend about it because I NEEDED TO LET IT OUT.

It's not very hard to figure out what's stalking the group on the moon, but it's how Johan tells it that ultimately won me over. As my best friend said to me: it seems like the stupidest thing in the world, but while you're reading it it's tremendously scary.

As horrifying as it was, it was also really confusing. If you've read this or do eventually read it, I think you'll know what I mean. There seem to be gaps in the books were the reader required information, and I'm not sure if it's because the book was translated into English from Norwegian, or just because Johan’s weak spot is the 'hey let's make it clear for the reader to understand' part.

Johan's writing was pretty awesome, though I'm sure that in its native form it would've been much better. The dark and eery writing style, third-person omniscient, with multiple points of view, suited the book extremely well. It wasn't overly descriptive with figurative language and insisted on being more of the quiet, whispery-type of writing. While not often humorous, 172 Hours on the Moon wasn't meant to be.

The character seemed, at times, to lack in development, but other times every single character was so carefully constructed it was unbelievable. Their reactions, their tendencies, and their voices tended to either be real and genuine or totally ridiculous.

I liked Mia enough. She had hopes and dreams like every other teenager, and she really was kick-butt when it came down to it. I really despised Midori at first, because she was annoying, assuming brat. Eventually I warmed up to her, though. Antoine cracked me up every time he made an appearance because he was just so... French.

"He gave the two girls a gloomy look. "If either of you wants to have your very own room on the moon right now, you're very welcome to mine. It isn't exactly how I . . . envisioned it."

Mia took the hint and gave him a wry smile. "Okay, Antoine. Come on. Your girls will look after the poor little Frenchman who's afraid of being alone."

Antoine threw up his arms and looked around as if to say, Can you blame me? and followed them into the room."

Want to get away from the ex-girlfriend? LET'S GO THE MOTHERFUCKING MOON, YO.

There's all the stereotypes about the French being perverted and creepily romantic and crazy, but having been raised in a French environment, I know it's not all lies. For a small country, France is completely nuts and we're proud of it.

Obviously, so is Antoine.

That ending was fucking mind-blowing. It's one of those cliffhanger endings where you feverishly wish for a sequel, but don't at the same time.

172 HOURS ON THE MOON was a chilling and immersive read that I'd definitely pick up again. It was my first horror-science fiction novel - I mean, something this scary couldn't possibly be science-horror fiction - and it was fantastic.
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
302 reviews40.2k followers
July 4, 2014
172 Hours on the Moon is super creepy yet engrossing. The mystery and the suspense kept me wanting to know what terrors lie in wait on the moon, and I couldn't put this book down. When you find out the truth, it is certainly not what you were expecting.

This book completely sucks you in, whenever I picked it up I couldn't stop reading. The first portion of the book - prior to the moon, is a little slower in pace. However, I loved getting to know the characters. and you still witness some odd occurrences throughout the beginning that peaks interest. It was really interesting having photographs and diagrams scattered throughout the book aswell, they helped create a more visually vivid understanding of things both on Earth and the moon.

There's a very interesting cast of characters, a lot of them are so ambiguous and I aroused my curiosity. You don't always know if they are necessarily good, as so many are keeping secrets. Each of the teens - Midori, Antoine and Mia, were nicely fleshed out at the start. They were each so diverse and brought something to the table, though I found that I didn't develop much of a connection with any of them.

I was particularly intrigued by the old man suffering from dementia, who we see a few times in the first part of the book. I loved stumbling across his chapters and trying to decipher what was going on in his head. He only provides a clue to the overall puzzle, but seeing his reactions to the new NASA mission was terrifying and really heightened the suspense.

There was a slight romantic aspect evident, but I felt it was a little unnecessary. There wasn't any room for it to be nicely developed as time skips ahead at some points, so it was a little flat. It certainly made things interesting later on, but overall I wasn't a huge fan.

The ending. The resolution. The truth. I am so conflicted!
My guesses as to what could possibly be happening on the moon were no where near the truth, but the discovery left me a little unsatisfied. It didn't make complete sense to me, and I still have so many questions about the last couple of chapters. However, I did like how it was quite open-ended, leaving you a little creeped out even after closing the book.... and even a few days later. I loved how the horrific elements played out until the very last page!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed 172 Hours on the Moon! It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but I loved how easy and fun (though quite scary) this book was. Though I may now have a slight fear of the moon....
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,312 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 23, 2017
Dnf on page 30

Yikes that was fast. I was already pretty cautious going into this after some of the reviews I have heard, so it didn’t take much to make this a no. Either the writing is pretty bad, or the translation is. Whichever it is, it only took a few pages to be totally fed up with the characters and the general style. As soon as a teenager in a book says something snarky in school and her class cheers for her, that’s pretty much an automatic eye roll and quit for me.
Profile Image for Julia.
115 reviews97 followers
December 27, 2016
You must know that what I'm about to tell you now is top secret, sensitive information. It's important that you understand that.

This is one of the worst books I've ever read. I could have put all the ridiculous quotes here to prove it, but it'd be no fun. So let me explain.*
*This review contains mild spoilers. All the major spoilers about the ending are hidden.

NASA is running out of money and decides to attract world's attention in an unusual way: it holds a lottery among teens that allow them to win the trip to the moon and back. It instantly becomes a sensation and young people all over the world sign up for the lottery, even though none of them heard of this mysterious DARLAH 2 base that had been secretly built years ago on the moon. Only three teenagers will win and who knows if any of them comes back.

Let's start with the obvious: is that a fucking good reason to send three teenagers (who don't even know basics about space, let alone physics/astronomy/whatsoever), even with five adult astronauts? I doubt it.
Somehow the three teens that were chosen are 100% healthy, both physically and mentally (I wouldn't be sure about the latter), live in different countries and speak English really good.

Mia. Mia Nomeland is Norwegian. She plays in her own band and can't stop listening to the Talking Heads. And also, can't shut fucking up about it. No, really, what was that? Author's attempt to promote his musical taste? Was it really that important to mention them here and there all the time? No. And since Mia is a song-writer and a singer (as it turns out later, not really a good one), she says things like this:
“I’m sorry about that,” [her father] said.
“About what?” Mia asked.
“About … everything. That this wasn’t what you’d planned for yourself. But you know, John Lennon once said, ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.’”
Mia wasn’t about to argue with John Lennon. After all, she was a musician herself.
Houston, we have a problem, I can't find logic in the last two sentences, hurry!
Actually, Mia didn't even sign up for the lottery. Her parents did it for her. So now I'm trying hard to imagine my parents telling me "Oh, we signed you up for the greatest opportunity of your life! You'll go to the moon, because we want the best for you!" Really? I'd think my parents went mental. But Mia's parents are sure that she'll thank them later. And when she finally wins and tries to find the positive side of the situation — of course, now she can't tell no, it will be scandalous! — she finds a good motivation: her band will be famous. As famous as Talking Heads once were. Applause.

Midori. Midori Yoshida is Japanese. She was bullied at school from the very beginning, but found that cool place where all the offbeat teens were hanging out and stopped caring about the bullies. But Midori still wants to get as far from Japan as she only can, and the moon sounds far enough, doesn't it?
She wouldn't say anything to her parents about wanting to move away from Yokohama in particular or Japan in general until they were well into their post-moon world tour. Then she'd suggest that they go see this Grand Canyon place. And then, as they stood there looking at the (probably not all that majestic) view, she could let the words drop: What if we just moved here?
And maybe, just maybe, they would say yes. It was a possibility anyway, and for now she'd have to believe it could work. Her life simply depended on it, she thought.
If not, the whole trip to the moon would be a complete waste.
Talk about the good motivation.

And then there's Antoine. Antoine Devereux is French. He just broke up with his girlfriend (actually, she did), so now poor Antoine is devastated. He can't think about anything but Simone, he goes to the telescope on the first level of the Eiffel Tower to stalk his ex-girlfriend through her window (creepy, huh?). So when Antoine finds out about the lottery — he's in.
He wasn’t doing it to put as much distance between himself and Simone as possible. It was more that he hoped that she would follow his experiences on TV and realize she still loved him.
If not that, this whole thing would be a total waste.
Good motivation, anyone, please?

It's not even the unrealistic motives/parents/premise itself that totally ruined 172 Hours on the Moon for me. It's the stupidity of everyone in this book. So now let me ask you a few questions.

1. Will you care about your kids' safety when it comes to the trip to the moon?
(a) Yes, of course! So many things can go wrong, actually, I wouldn't even let them go! But if I did, I'd definitely stalk all the stuff and ask them as many questions as I only could.
(b) I trust NASA, they'll take care of them, no need to worry.

If you chose (a) — congrats! You can easily skip it. Don't waste your time.
If you chose (b), go read this book. I'm pretty sure you'll like it.
The man brushed aside their questions with a few curt, vague answers before opening his briefcase and taking out reams of paperwork. Midori and her parents had to sign countless documents, insurance forms, waivers for this and that, release of liability forms in the event of this or that, and so on. It would have been completely impossible to read them all; all they could do was sign where the man pointed with his well-manicured finger, over and over and over again until he seemed satisfied, smiled, and bowed deeply before thanking them and leaving, just as quietly and emotionlessly as he had arrived.
Why would you want to read them in the first place? It's not that they're connected to your daughter's safety, is it?

2. Will you care about your own safety and try to find as much information about the trip and space as possible?
(a) Sure, I understand it's a very dangerous trip, so I'll read all the articles/books, watch all the movies and ask NASA's stuff all the questions.
(b) I'm spontaneous, I'll figure something out ;)

If you chose (a) — congrats! You can easily skip it. Don't waste your time.
If you chose (b), go read this book. I'm pretty sure you'll like it.
They remembered the pictures on TV of the space shuttle Challenger shown over and over again in 1986. It had exploded in a sea of flames seventy-three seconds after takeoff, killing all seven on board. [...]
Actually, only her parents were thinking about that. Mia wasn’t aware of that infamous accident. She hadn’t even been born when it happened. What she was thinking about, as the taxi slowed down and parked outside the hotel, was her friends.
Are you fucking kidding me, Mia? But wait for it, she's not the only one that ignorant.
Was it really as safe as his father thought it would be? How many other people had done this before him? Ten? Twelve? It couldn’t be more than that, he was sure.
Thanks God for Kiddle, maybe now kids will learn how to google stuff they have to know before flying to the moon. But what's that? There's more!
How long did it take to fly to New York anyway?
Eight hours?
She was going to have to find some way to get through this.
So basically, she's flying to the moon and can't even find out how long does it take to fly to New York? Did they hold a lottery among the most stupid teenagers on the planet? And how are you planning to fly for (nonsense!) four days to the moon, Midori? You have to find some way to get through this.

If you're still looking for some character development, you'll find none. Maybe 16 y.o I meet nowadays aren't all genius too, but these three? They're something. Mia, Midori and Antoine are ignorant, they don't really care about anything (let alone all this 'difficult and tiresome space-related' stuff), and while we don't really see Antoine and Midori bitching around, Mia does this important job for everyone.
Family and friends arrived for the launch the next day. Mia saw Antoine’s and Midori’s parents standing behind the fence at the launch center, waving. The astronauts’ families were there, too: wives, children. But no Mom. No Dad. No Sander. [...]
That’s when she spotted them, and realized they’d been there the whole time, almost hidden in the background, so she wouldn’t be embarrassed by them. For a brief moment she knew she really loved them after all.
How bloody sweet. Okay, I get it, her parents signed her up for this trip, but she could deny the invitation, couldn't she? You're going to the moon, for God's sake! But no, the only things Mia really cares about are music and her friends (not really, her band). So when some real shit happens, these are the only things that come to her mind.
She thought of everything she would lose, that she would never get to see for the foreseeable future: the woods, the ocean, beaches, streets, cities, cars, people... She thought of her friends, who would go on with their lives without her. The band, concerts she wouldn’t get to be part of. And after the battery in her iPod ran out, and that would be soon, it might be a whole year before she heard any music again at all. That thought was unbearable, and actually made her feel worse than the thought that she might never make it home again.
Wow. Just wow.

But stupid teenagers isn't the only problem here. Actually, it seems that adult astronauts were chosen for this trip randomly too. Because otherwise I see no reason for them to panic, give up and take a whole bunch of sedatives (=morphine) while being on the mission. Human factor, you'd say. Bullshit, I'd say. They were supposed to be trained to act reasonable and calm in the most improbable circumstances, because they're responsible not only for their, but also for these kids' lives. And NASA. Oh my, NASA...
“[...] What’s the plan for Aldrin’s boots?” [...]
“There are no … uh … special plans for them, no,” the response crackled back over the speaker.
“Great,” Midori said, grabbing the boots. “Then I’m taking them. They’re super cool. A little big, though.” She turned around and carefully walked back over to the group.
“Houston, one of the kids just took Aldrin’s boots from the surface!” Caitlin exclaimed.
[...] “Well,” came the response finally, “he ought to have put a little more thought into where he tossed his things. Let her keep them. Until everyone returns to Earth, at least.”
Really? No, really? Who let 5 y.o into the NASA's communication center?

And then there's this ending. This ending. Could it be even more illogical? I doubt it.

I was looking for a gripping creepy story, but instead I came across 172 Hours on the Moon. Usually I'm the person that watches movies through the very tiny hole between fingers and closes eyes every now and then. This book didn't make me close my eyes. Instead, it made me roll them all the time. So the final question is:

3. Do you want to read it?
(a) No
(b) Yes

I'd definitely go for (a).
Profile Image for Jenne.
1,086 reviews675 followers
December 1, 2012
Oh my god what.
I think maybe this was actually written by an alien rather than a Norwegian. At first I just assumed the peculiarly flavorless dialogue was a result of the translation process, but the way that no character at any time behaves the way an actual human would--there's just no other explanation.
Alien wrote this.
The end.

(the end, by the way, I did enjoy since . Yay!)
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,456 followers
April 12, 2017
"To the moon, Alice!" --The Honeymooners (1955)

In space, no one can hear you scream. --Alien (1979)
First of all, if I was ever going to read a book based solely on its cover, it would be this one. That eye, that desolate, lunar landscape, that solitary, shadowy figure.

Magnificent, yes? Also, the premise of this one had me at "hello, we're going back to the moon. And there's something wicked bad there. And you probably won't make it back alive." Space horror is the bomb. Unless you're talking about this piece of crap, then it's just a crime against humanity.

I was primed for this book when I picked it up. I had just watched Apollo 18 -- not an entirely dreadful found footage flick about bad shit happening on the moon. I dug it. The moon freaks me out. It has a face people. It sits in judgment of us all. I don't have to suspend disbelief in order to believe there are sinister things afoot up there. If you can think it up, you won't have much problem selling it to me.

The premise for 172 Hours on the Moon is EPIC --- the execution and delivery? --- meh, it was okay. It takes way too long to get to the moon, and once you do everything juicy and good happens way too fast. I wanted much more moon. More dread. More sophistication and sexiness.

Characters are also poorly developed, and not very likable. That's okay cause I was mostly reading for ideas and action -- sadly, the former are flimsy and the latter is lacking in both quantity and quality. Sigh. Still, I liked it. Just didn't love it. Maybe something was lost in translation from its original Norwegian?

I'm always hungering for space horror -- in print or on film. If you have any recommendations lay them on me!! This book has made me want to read Sphere. So that's my recommendation to me :)
Profile Image for Brandon Baker.
Author 14 books4,628 followers
April 19, 2023
Early DNF. In theory I have nothing against YA, but this is too angsty/whiny/corny and is too stereotypically YA for me to handle.
Profile Image for alittlelifeofmel.
888 reviews346 followers
February 11, 2021
2021 edit: 2016 me didn’t think to tag spoilers so please know there are spoilers!!!!

The were things I knew about this book before I started: It was scary and it was good and it was about going to the moon.

Therefore the things I expected before starting this book: a scary plot and a good book and a plot on the moon.

Things I HOPED from this book: a unique plot, little to no romance, and an absolutely fantastic story.

Things I got from the book: a unique plot, little romance and an absolutely fantastic story.

I don't even know where to begin because this was fantastic. It's about 3 kids who win a contest to go to the moon with 5 astronauts and no one has been to the moon in a long time and when they get there weird stuff starts happening.

I don't know what to gush about first honestly? The plot was amazing. It was never dull, nothing missing. The book starts with the discussion to finally go to the moon again after so long without going and the discussion to bring teenagers. Then you see the 3 teenagers and the reasons they decided to apply, and then their training and then the moon. Like every detail is filled in. Nothing is missing and nothing is left out. It really is so well done in telling a well rounded story.

The C H A R A C T E R S!!! First of all, can I just say that I love that not one of the 3 teenagers was from the USA. Normally in these type of books, at least 1 of the choices would be from the U.S. but none were. And the ones chosen were just !!!!. I cannot begin to spell the Japanese girl's name because I listened to it, (Madori??) but she was adorable. She was so not the type of person I would expect to want to go to the moon. Antoine was also adorable. He was my favourite and I just loved that he wasn't ever the "tough guy" he was just a normal guy. And well Mia she was just perfect and strong and I liked that.

I just loved the timeline of this story. I will admit it did take a long portion of the book before they went to space but now looking back I think it was enough. The story and the mystery and just everything progressed well enough.

And finally.. the end.. Just SPECTACULAR. Everything I wanted in the end. I wanted it to end a certain way and it DID.
The end was the best part of the entire novel for me and honestly part of me wants a sequel and the other part of me is so happy to be able to imagine things on my own.

Around The Year in 52 Books Challenge #43 - A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
787 reviews1,339 followers
February 4, 2021
Hace años que quería leer este libro, y finalmente me dí el gusto. No sé si es tan espeluznante como lo había esperado, pero sin duda me gustó muchísimo. Me hacía falta leer más de esta temática. A los personajes les faltó un poco más de desarrollo, y el final lo veía venir, mucho no me gustó. Pero a pesar de todo, disfruté mucho su lectura.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,243 reviews2,225 followers
August 27, 2020

OOF That rating hurts since I really thought this would be a 5 star/favorite book of the year...

Yeah this book was a great premise but poorly executed. It was honestly kinda just a YA rip off of “The Thing”? Also it took too long for us to get to the actual moon, but also in that time didn’t develop ANY characters or relationships so I didn’t care about ANY of them or believe any romance at all. This also wasn’t spooky... at all... sooooo

Disappointed. That’s all.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
917 reviews161 followers
August 22, 2017
That was a strange ending. The first part of the book was slow but by halfway you realize this book is not sci-fi and has quickly turned into a horror book. Not a bad read at all! I took it off my bookshelf to read for the total solar eclipse today and am glad I finally got around to reading it. I don't mind multiple POVs and the story was fascinating. The story really had a lot of elements to it when you break it down. There was culture, conspiracy, urban legend, romance, comradery, and most important it was a great mix of sci-fi and horror (which I did not expect when first grabbing the book from my bookshelf).

Overall, a quick and intriguing read!
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
May 5, 2012
2.5 stars

I don’t feel great about this rating, but I’ve got to be honest – this book left me pretty cold.

It’s possible that a large part of this was going into the book already knowing what was lurking on the moon. It’s hard to be completely creeped out when you’ve identified the bogeyman, you know? So, there’s a chance I might have rated higher had I been unprepared for finale. But I’m hesitant to put my lack of enthusiasm down to just that.

I don’t disagree that third person was the right way to tell this story. But there was a wooden, simplistic tone to the writing that I found difficult to connect to. In addition, there’s a lot of foot-stamping and warming up before the real action begins and I found the first two thirds of the book, to put it bluntly, boring.

On top of the writing not really holding my attention, I found myself getting distracted by questioning the logic and the decisions made. On the basis of the information that is revealed near the end, the reasoning for sending teenagers to the moon just doesn't stand up. I wanted to let go of nit-picking the premise, and just enjoy the ride, but there was too much belief required to be suspended for me to ignore.

The final third of the novel really kicked the intensity up a notch, and the ending was deliciously chilling. Similarly the discussion and use of was a great concept, and I liked that Harstad left most of the questions unanswered. Often, the reader does the best job of scaring themselves, when left to fill in blanks themselves.

I just wish I’d felt similarly engaged for the entirety of the book – but in truth I had to push myself to that point.
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews326 followers
October 28, 2017
OMG what a crazy ass book. Okay this is a horror book. A perfect horror book. Slow build, you meet the characters, you start to get to know them, to like them and then something weird and creepy happens. The characters brush it off like they so often do. Maybe with a light chuckle, a roll of the eye, an inner pep talk that what they are thinking is ludicrous, impossible. Then the next phase in the horror happens. No one to turn to. No way out. Alone, Alone, Alone. Or are they. Who's left? Second guessing starts to take over. Clumsiness ensues. And then there is the end. Some horrors end with maybe one lone survivor. Someone to tell the tale. Sometimes if the characters are really lucky there are two survivors someone else to share your pain. And sometimes no one.

Read this book if you like creepy. I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Twila.
130 reviews122 followers
August 15, 2015
"Five, four - ignition sequence!"
"Two, one -"

I may have a slight rant prepared.

So, NASA has a lottery to send 3 teenagers on the first moon mission after 40 years of absence? That sounded pretty ludicrous to me. We're given a reason on why children, but it's a pretty crappy reason.


I feel like the author didn't do enough research on how NASA does things.
I don't think NASA would just randomly choose 3 people. Okay, sure there were a few regulations on height, age and a few other little things. But I thought the least they could do was interview the hell out of them. They should have been tested physical, mentally and psychologically. What if one of them went crazy up there?
NASA instead 'trains' them for the zero gravity of space by making them practice in a pool.

Behind closed doors, they knew what happened here in the past.

NASA knows, they know something terrible and unexplained happened up there the first time, but they still choose to send 3 kids up there anyway?
They land them practically right on top of the Apollo 11 landing site in the Sea of Tranquilities. No one has been there since the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. I thought they would have been sent somewhere more selenologically interesting. That site was chosen for its blandness.

Anyway, they move to a base that was secretly built back in the 70's. Huh?
How did NASA manage to build a base in secret? How did they launch so many missions to the moon without anyone noticing? Those Saturn V launches could have been heard for miles.

When they land on the moon, one of the first things they do is to put a Plexiglas box over Buzz Aldrin's first boot print. I want to know how they could even tell which one it was as it would have been trampled by Armstrong's and Aldrin's two lunar walks. But we see a picture of it! :D


There's also a few scenes where the author confused oxygen depletion with airlessness, but I don't want to get into any spoilers.
Also, launches from the moon are actually very gentle. All of our astronauts did so standing on their own two feet. In this novel now, the astronaut felt a high amount of acceleration and power slamming he/she down.

The grasp of physics and technology were way too tenuous for my tastes. As for the characters? Neither of the 'lucky' kids wanted to go to the moon for the actual experience. We have Mia, a Goth girl from Norway, who has a dream to become a popular vocalist. There's a French guy, Antoine, who just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible (his poor situation just made me laugh). And then there's Midori who wants to leave her country of Japan and move to New York. They all think this is their big chance.

I know the author is Norwegian and this novel was first published in Norway with the title Darlah. I think that might be the reason the dialogue didn't feel very natural? The prose had a rigid, clinical feel to it. I think that the translation maybe messed things up.

With all this being said, I'm still giving this thing 4 stars. I loved the central concept of the story involving the strange signal from the moon and the mysterious lunar presences dating back to Apollo 11. Where the first half of the book had way too much build-up to the actual lunar mission, the lunar mission got really interesting. I guess that made the pacing uneven, but I'm still happy with the last half. It was VERY suspenseful and intriguing that I actually could forget about all the faulty details. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I finished this just past midnight and I absolutely love the feels this book gave me. I totally recommend to read the second half late at night to get the best out of this novel, as I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have scared me during the day. It wasn't too creepy, but the feels were there.

But talk about plot holes galore. The second half moved at such a rushed pace that most of the actual explanations and revels were missing. Some elements were unresolved or were just glossed over. I still have no idea what happened in the epilogue. The epilogue also seemed to undo the 'horrific' finale a little bit? I also called the ending, sadly. I felt like there was a potential for more.

Overall, too unrealistic but I LOVED LOVED LOVED the feels. If the facts were right, it could have been 5 stars like The Martian. I know I've talked about that book A LOT before, but I will forever flaunt that book shamelessly to everyone. Just get used to it :)

3.5 to 4 stars.

Buddy read with the one and only Petra!
Profile Image for Carlos.
621 reviews291 followers
October 28, 2016
Actually 3 3/4 stars , this book is a fast read , that is the good thing about it and it is also the bad thing about it. The premise is great, 3 teenagers win a raffle to go to the moon, this is seen as attention grabbing move by NASA , but it is so much more than that, there is a reason why we haven't gone back to the moon, a dark reason that NASA has tried to hide , it is up to the three teenagers to try to save themselves, will they come back to earth safely? Or will they unless an evil that should had never been disturbed.... fast read , plot could have been elaborated further ...
Profile Image for Pip.
172 reviews464 followers
February 28, 2015
Slow to start but holy SHIT this was freaky as HELL. Incredibly threatening and claustrophobic and tense, really enjoyable read if you're a fan of a mixture of mystery/sci fi/horror. I'm going to have a lie down.
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,344 reviews319 followers
August 23, 2023
Review on English, followed by the Bulgarian one. Ревюто на английски е първо, следва това на български.

I expected this relatively short sci-fi story to be boring and poorly written, but no - it's was fairly quick read.

Good idea and average, almost poor execution. There are a lot of holes and bugs in it, but I think it works well enough for a YA novel. The characters are very poorly written - especially the adult astronauts…

My rating - 2.5*.

Очаквах тази относително кратка sci-fi история да бъде доста по-тегава и зле написана, но не - става да се изчете набързо.

Добър замисъл и средно, към слабо изпълнение. Има доста дупки и цели пробойни в корпуса на книгата, но пък си мисля, че като за YA роман става. Героите са много зле списани - особено възрастните астронавти…

Моята оценка - 2,5*.
Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,818 followers
January 4, 2016
"In space, no one can hear you scream."

The premise of 172 Hours on the Moon is that, in the near future, NASA decides to send three teenagers to the moon. Why? For publicity and funding, they say. (Huh, okay.) But as this creepy story progresses, conspiracies are uncovered and strange things begin to happen––and the three teens chosen for the journey, along with the rest of the crew at their space station, find out they may not make it back to Earth alive.

So, I'll start off by saying that this book is so scary. I'd been warned that it was a creepy one, but even so I was not prepared. If J.J. Abrams wrote a YA novel, I imagine it would be a lot like this. (Like seriously it reminded me a lot of Lost, but set in space.) It's the kind of unsettling horror story that has a slow build-up, when you just know something really terrifying is lurking around and it's just waiting for a moment to jump out and start killing everyone.

I enjoyed that scary, suspenseful aspect of it. And when the reader does find out what's really going on, it's quite a cool idea––and a pretty original one, too.

The second half of this book was super intense and it kept me on the edge of my seat. As a whole, it was very scary and had some horrifying moments that I won't soon forget.

However, while I liked the book conceptually, there were some things about its execution that I thought could have been better.

The characters. Honestly, I didn't have much sympathy for any of the three teenage protagonists. First of all, they all seemed pretty indifferent about going to the moon and had strange reasons for wanting to go in the first place. Mia wants to go because she thinks it will be an opportunity to make her band more famous. Midori just wants to escape her home in Japan and run away to New York. And Antoine is just bitter over his ex-girlfriend (whom, I might add, he spies on through one of those touristy coin-operated viewing things from the Eiffel Tower––errm yeah, he's a huge creep).

There's not really anything super interesting about any of them. Mia just seems like a brat, Antoine is a creepy stalker … I guess I don't have much about Midori, but she doesn't really have any defining characteristics, either.

And don't get me started on the insta-love "romance" between Mia and Antoine. I mean, really … was that even necessary?

The pacing. Although the second half of this book was very fast-paced and suspenseful, I thought the first half dragged quite a bit. It mostly just consisted of the three teens finding out about the moon mission, signing up, finding out they got selected, etc. I was pretty disappointed that the story totally skipped over their "training" period where they were preparing to go to space and went right to the takeoff. I feel like that period of training would have been much more interesting and a good place for much-needed character development.

The writing. This might be more the fault of the translator and not the author, but I found the writing kind of … dry, I guess? I felt like there weren't enough descriptions, and the dialogue often felt really forced and awkward.

And uh … I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. I did appreciate that it was pretty bold, and took some risks that I did not expect out of a YA book. But it also left a lot of unanswered questions, and I had some believability issues with it.

The final word:


• Suspenseful and scary (at least towards the end)
• Cool premise, and the story is pretty original


• Characters are pretty flat
• Writing is not great
• First half of the book is slow
• I had trouble suspending my disbelief about a bunch of things
Profile Image for Serkan.
53 reviews63 followers
January 5, 2016
Uzun zamandır bu kadar saygısızca saçmalayan, YA da olsa sci-fi etiketine bu kadar hakaret eden bir kitap okumamıştım.

Spoil etmekten hiç çekinmiyorum, çünkü "gerçekten" okumayın.

1) 1969'da zar zor aya iniş yapan NASA, oraya nasıl olduysa 2 tane kocaman yer altı üssü kurmuş, hem de el değmeden! iş makinesi mi getirdi naptıysa artık. Üstelik bu kadar yatırımdan sonra üsleri de hiç kullanmamış. Az daha unutuyordum bir de üslerden birine kendi başına havalanıp otomatik olarak dünyaya dönebilen bir kaçış mekiği yerleştirmiş. (Böyle bir teknolojisi varsa neden giderken de kullanmadı diye sorarlar adama)

2) Ninja kaplumbağlar bile bu ana karakterlerden daha iyi giderdi bu kitaba. Hadi abuk sabuk ergen karakterleri koydun, hiçbir yere bağlamayacağın hikayeleri niye anlatıyorsun peki. Madem antonie salakca ölecek ne bok yemeye aşk acısını anlattın sayfalarca? Peki o salak kızın müzik grubu ne oldu? Yaşlı adam ne halt etmeye kitapdaydı?

3) Doppelgänger. Tamam güzel işlense hoş bir konu olabilir ama bu ne ya. Ayda yaşıyor aman Dünya'ya gelmesin diyoruz bir yerde, öbür taraftan Dünyada da hep görüldüğünü öğreniyoruz. E o zaman mekiğe binip gelmesine ne gerek var? Zaten yıllardır Dünyada, istediği zaman bize havaalanı kapısı bile yapabiliyor.

Sonuç: iç tutarlılığı olan bir hayal dünyası yaratmak ile çekici bir konu etrafında rastgele saçmalamak farklı şeyler. Umarım yazarın son kitabı olur.
Profile Image for Rachel.
853 reviews107 followers
May 10, 2015
*1.5 stars*
Wow so I was really disappointed in this. Basically all I got out of it was an attempt at a cheap thrill / "crazy plot twist" at the end, but I wasn't even impressed by that. Usually when I don't like a book I try and give it the whole "oh maybe it's just me" deal, but I just don't think this was a well crafted novel.

Plot- Essentially, nothing happens in this book until the last 50ish pages. Obviously I'm exaggerating, but what I really mean is nothing of importance happens. I feel like all the author cared about was the end, so he wrote that, then realized, oh yeah I have to actually get them to the moon somehow, I guess I'll write that, and throw in a little bit of "foreshadowing." If you really want to know what the twist ending is, you could honestly just pick up the book and read only the last 100 pages, and you probably wouldn't even be confused, because the pages before didn't set up anything important except for the reason the kids are up there, and the names of the characters- both of which are in the synopsis so you could just read that and be covered. As a result of this, I was so incredibly bored throughout this entire book, even the end. I'll admit, I only kept reading because I wanted to know what this "crazy ending" everyone talks about was, and I even thought that was lame. Yeah, yeah the ending was sort of creepy, but it wasn't nearly as scary or mind-blowing as I was expecting, and I predicted it long before it actually happened. I can see that the idea of the twist was original (which is basically the only reason I'm giving it an extra half star), but I don't think it was executed well at all, and I really was not impressed.

Writing- I don't know if the author is a bad writer, or if the translation was just bad, but this writing really just wasn't good. The dialogue didn't sound natural, the descriptions lacked "oomph," and the writing just felt very bland and juvenile.

Characters- Wow, look at that, the characters were terribly underdeveloped and not written well, just like the rest of this book! Sorry, too much? I just didn't find myself enjoying any aspect of this book. The characters were so incredibly flat, and most of the time I couldn't tell the two girl main characters apart. They had no development what so ever, and I feel like they were just placeholders, and it didn't matter who the characters of the story were, as long as they were affected by "the twist." I know I'm being really harsh but these were seriously some of the worst characters I've read about in a long time. The writer did attempt to give them some background as to why they wanted to go to the moon, but it didn't feel real, and it wasn't written into the story well either, it was just handed to us like, "here's some character information I'm obligated to give to you!"

Overall- I don't think there was one thing I enjoyed about this book, honestly. Okay, I think the only thing I liked was one particular scene, just because it was the first hint of creepiness in the book and it gave me hope, but I truly think that's the only thing. I thought this was a very poorly done "horror" novel that was so dependent on its twist at the end that everything else in the novel was just put on the sidelines, including what was happening in the plot up to the twist. Even with that being said, this still could have been a 2 star book if the twist and ending was done well, but it wasn't, so I can't afford it any more stars than the one I am giving it.

Recommend?- Not at all.
Profile Image for Rebecca (whymermaids).
143 reviews249 followers
July 28, 2016
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I’d heard such raving reviews from some of my friends about it, and I was intrigued by the idea of a thriller set on the moon. What could the premise possibly be? Aliens? Astronauts gone rogue? I was excited to find out.

And then I started reading it.

The premise of 172 Hours on the Moon boils down to: there’s something dangerous and weird happening on the moon, and NASA has kept silent about it for fifty years, but now it’s back and they need to fix it. To build popularity and hopefully gain support (read: $), they decide to make it a big spectacle: the 50th anniversary of the first Lunar Landing, using models that look like those from Apollo 11. Oh, and did I mention their plan involved sending teenagers to space?


This is where my problems began, and despite my hopes they’d get better, they didn’t.

So NASA, this big giant space organization that has LITERALLY put man on the moon, that employs some of the SMARTEST people on the planet and has a contingency plan for their contingency plan, decides it’s going to hold a lottery and choose three teenagers from around the world to send to space.

That’s right. THREE.

The application said they needed to be in good health, etc, but there were no tests actually required, no fitness evaluation or mental stress tests. No knowledge of space or science required.

So… you’re telling me that out of the entire world, NASA just happened to RANDOMLY pick three teenagers to go to space and all three of them are perfectly fit to go?


(also, they all speak English, I’m assuming, since they communicate without effort amongst one another despite their different countries of origin?)

If I’d been in charge at NASA, I would’ve put in place some evaluation they had to pass before they could even apply. THEN I would’ve chosen 50 or so candidates who scored the highest (on a range of tests - physical, mental, stress, etc) and maybe even dreamed of becoming astronauts (instead of going because they wanted to get a girl back, ugh), and then made them go through even more tests to whittle it down to the final three. Think The Selection/The Bachelor meets Armageddon.

But hell, if I were in charge at NASA, I wouldn’t be sending teenagers to space. Or really, I wouldn’t be doing anything from this dumb book.

So they get to the moon. Our three main teenagers aren’t particularly interesting, and the events on the moon sound like The Martian but way less smart and with some weird “thing” killing people. Even the deaths were boring.

Idk. I thought the “thing” (no spoilers) was pretty dumb and if they knew that much about it beforehand, it seems pretty reckless to send people up there without any methods of taking care of it. Maybe let your peeps know there’s something out to get them instead of keeping it a secret? You know, to protect their lives on THE MOON.

Half of what happened on the moon didn’t even make sense, and I just really wanted more development of what could have been a really cool idea.

The scariest part about this was the urban legend one of the characters tells that has nothing to do with the plot. Cool story, bro.

Anyway. This is more of a ranty ramble than a well structured review and I apologize for that. But this was just dumb and made me dumber for having read it.

2/5 stars for what it could’ve been with a better (or even just adult) writer, and for the fact that I did finish it and was mildly intrigued at times.
Profile Image for Doğan.
202 reviews13 followers
April 9, 2018
Öncelikle kitaba verdiğim 3 puan, 2,5'dan 3 puandır. Elimde olsa 2,5 puanı burada da verirdim.

İthaki'nin, Marslı'dan yediği ekmeği bu kitaptan da yemek istemesi hatta Marslı'yı iyi sattık bunu da satarız felsefesiyle piyasaya sürdüğü bir kitap. Tek tesellim, 9.90'a almış olmam nedeniyle maddi zararımın az olması.

Kitabın hemen bitmesi en güzel yanıydı. Genç-yetişkin yanının ağır basması, kitabın yarısına geldiğimizde Ay'a anca gidişimiz, ucuz bir kurgu ve ucuz-basit bir sonla bitmesi kötüydü. Kötüydü işte...

Güncelleme: 1 sene sonra yorumum karşıma çıktı ve verdiğim 3 puanın bile bu kitaba çok geldiğini düşündüm. :)
Profile Image for Yaprak.
Author 23 books122 followers
March 26, 2018
Yorumu gelecek...Yazımın aslı ve tamamı --> https://yaprakonur.wordpress.com/2018...

Ay'da 172 Saat, konu uzay olduğunda kendimi asla tutamadığım için kesinlikle okumam gerektiğini düşündüğüm bir kitaptı; arka kapakta yazan 'Ay'a gitmek ister misiniz?' yazısını görür görmez beni tavlamıştı ama maalesef ki içeriği bu hislerimi boşa çıkardı.

Öncelikle belirtmem gerekir ki bu bir bilimkurgu kitabı değil, bir gerilim kitabı, zaten bu durum benim için bir puan eksiyle başlamasına neden oldu.

Kısaca üçüncü sınıf Hollywood filimlerindeki dağın başındaki orman evinini alıp Ay'a yerleştirmiş bir roman, doğal olarak benim beklentimin çok dışında bir kitap. Gerilim kitabı arıyorsanız belki ama bilimkurgu kitabı olarak okumaya niyetliyseniz uzak durun derim ben.
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