Quick Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

I found this book in the YA section in the library when I was looking for a book for my son (14). I’ve read two of this writer’s books (written for adults) so I was excited to see another of his books. My son liked it loads and I enjoyed it too. I’ve previously read Buzz Aldrin: What Happened to You in All the Confusion, and Hässelby by this author from Norway.


There’s a… problem on the moon and NASA needs to get back there after they haven’t been there for many years. There is a secret base on the moon which will be used for the first time ever. But there is a money problem. So, to get lots of media attention (and the accompanying funds), they hold a lottery for teenagers between 14 and 18 years old. Three lucky teenagers from all over the world will join five astronauts in their trip to the moon.

So, Midori from Japan, Mia from Norway and Antoine from France train in the USA for their trip up into the skies. Before they leave for the moon, a few strange things happen to them. And once on the moon, things are not quite as they expected, either. The 172 hours that they were to spend on the moon will be spend differently than planned.

This book combined the fascination of the author with moon travelling from Buzz Aldrin: What Happened to You in All the Confusion with the rather unexpected ending of HässelbyI loved reading this book and towards the end, when it was clear something was very wrong, I was really spooked. I very much wanted to know what was happening, but I also wanted the book to last a bit longer.

A very enjoyable story. The book follows the three teenagers but Mia from Norway has a slightly bigger role in the story. She didn’t actually want to go but hoped it would be good publicity for the rock band that she’s in. During the stay on the moon, the teenagers are forced to take a more active role as time passes. This is done in a believable way, I thought. The children weren’t made more heroïc than could realistically be expected of them, as you often see in children’s fiction.

There were a lot of pictures, too. They were all photographs of situations in the book and maps of the space station. I really liked this, as it made the book more realistic.

A scary story that you won’t want to put down!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Number of pages: 368

First published: 2008

Genre: science fiction, YA

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

11 Responses to Quick Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

  1. It does sound like an enjoyable and scary story, Judith. Thanks for your review.

  2. Leslie says:

    Even though it’s YA, I’d enjoy this one. I wish there had been more books like this when I was a teen. I don’t remember having a big a selection to choose from.

    • Leeswammes says:

      We didn’t have many either, Leslie. But there was one Dutch writer who wrote books similar to this and I loved it.

      This book is very readable for adults, I thought.

  3. I hadn’t heard of this book but it’s one I definitely want to check out now – it sounds great!

  4. This book sounds good, I’m going to keep a look out for it 🙂

  5. I’m being a contrarian again with this one–I really struggled with it. I loved the moon concept, and the scary stuff that went on, but felt like it was almost two separate books jammed together. I felt the whole set-up hard to believe, too. I guess I’m getting grumpy in my old age!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Ha ha, well, of course it was hard to believe they’d sent up teenagers to the moon and it was hard to believe that they’d find that (spoiler). But I loved it, I had no problem accepting it for the course of the book.

      Well, we can’t all like the same stuff!

  6. Matthew Bilmes says:

    (Minor spoiler)

    I liked it right up until the very end with the “mission report” from 2081. That really confused me. Does anyone have any idea what that was about?

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