Author: Johan Harstad
Release Date: April 2012
Published By: ATOM
Goodreads Rating: 3.48 stars
Review: 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 in the black vacuum of space... no one can come to save them.
As soon as I read the premise of 172 HOURS ON THE MOON, I knew I was going to like it, and not just like it but like it a whole heck of a lot - which I did. But the entire time I was reading it, I couldn't banish that niggling thought in the back of my mind that this whole novel is based on a completely unbelievable premise. I just can't possibly imagine something like this lottery getting approved, let alone that any set of loving parents would ever agree to letting their child go on a mission alone to the moon.
Apart from my inability to suspend disbelief, though, I did thoroughly enjoy this novel from beginning to end, which I attribute almost solely to the sheer creepiness of the story. From early on, the book had the hairs raising on the back of my neck, and the suspense didn't let up even after the plot twist and result of the ample foreshadowing was revealed. The ending in particular was incredible, the kind that makes you put down the book and look at the ceiling and reel in the delicious shock of what just happened.
Of course, this review wouldn't be complete without a discussion of the way the book was written. First of all, I wholeheartedly approve of the decision to write it in third-person because scary content is so much more suspenseful that way. Secondly, I actually liked the points of view except for the one of the janitor in the nursing home. It wasn't bad but it didn't really add anything special that the other foreshadowing wasn't already taking care of.
All in all, 172 HOURS ON THE MOON is an excellent horror novel (note that's much more horror than science fiction). The writing and the characters mesh perfectly into a suspenseful story that will not let you put it down, and the only quibble I have is the sketchy premise. Other than that, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good thriller with a shocking ending.