Saturday, June 16, 2012

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Published: April 2012 (originally published 2008)
Publisher: Atom
Pages: 355
Copy: Personal
Summary: Goodreads

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. . .

I picked up 172 Hours on the Moon at the bookstore in Manchester airport on my way back from vacation.  I wasn't too sure what it was about, but it was the only title there that I didn't remember seeing before in Canada, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Turns out it was originally published in Norwegian in 2008.  172 Hours on the Moon was an interesting if somewhat odd story that intrigued me enough that I kept going. 

Its a sci-fi thriller really, and there aren't that many of them in YA, which is what attracted me to it in the beginning.  The first thing that struck me is that none of the 3 main protagonists is from the US.  It seemed a little strange at first.  3 very different teenagers are chosen by lottery and we follow their journey before, during and after take-off to the moon. 

The story is written from 3 different POV's - each of the kids, which adds dimension and was interesting to follow.  There is a major conspiracy going on that the kids are unaware of and there are some strange goings on even before they actually make it to the moon.  At one point I wasn't too sure if I was going to finish it, but things started to get interesting and decidedly creepy.  What makes 172 Hours worth reading in my mind are the last half dozen chapters.  I know that might sound a little weird, but the ending makes it all worth while.

While I wouldn't recommend rushing out and ordering it immediately, it is worth picking up if you get the chance.  It will probably surprise you.

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