Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

12860573Publication Date: September 15, 2008

Synopsis:
NASA has announced another trip to the moon after decades of no lunar missions. This time, they’re inviting three lucky teenagers to come with them.

One girl from Norway, one girl from Japan, and a boy from France are chosen for the journey. Their mission is to make it to a research facility on the moon, DARLAH 2.

But as the preparations for the journey begin, people are starting to ask – why haven’t they heard about DARLAH 2 until now and what makes it deserving of a mission to the moon?

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Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Date Read: April 15, 2018

Thoughts:
I’ve been meaning to read this for a really long time. I think I first heard about it when I started following BookTube about 4 years ago, and I knew that I wanted to read it since then. It’s also been sitting in my Audible app for a few months, so I decided to give it a try and see what I thought about it.

I blazed through the first half of the book pretty quickly. It was such a quick listen and I was so engaged from the beginning. It did take me a little while to get the cast of characters straight in my head, but once I figured that out, it was really easy follow along with the story.

The plot is really interesting and engaging because it deals with NASA and outer space. As someone who isn’t really into sci-fi, I didn’t feel like the concepts were too far-fetched. I understood everything that was happening and didn’t feel like I was getting lost at any point in the story. I also thought that it was really well-paced. The trouble with books like this is that they can drag out too much or be too fast for the reader to follow along properly. But Johan Harstad did a really good job of making the pacing even and smooth.

I really liked the background of a trip to the moon and NASA being involved. Honestly, it didn’t sound too far-fetched that it couldn’t happen in the next 10-20 years. The book touched on real historical events from NASA space journeys and the race against Russia, but it also used some of the ambiguity surrounding those lunar trips to weave in the plot of this book. It made a lot of sense and was really well done. Harstad must have done a lot of research to pull this off so well.

The narrator did a really great job with this book too. I was worried that because there were several male characters, it might be a little difficult for a female narrator to bring the voices to life, but this narrator did a really fantastic job. She nailed the accents pretty well without making it stereotypical, and she was able to pronounce several foreign words, though she had some trouble with the Japanese.

The ending did left me wondering what the world would be like if the events in the book were true. I liked how the story wrapped up and I think it made a lot of sense, but I do think that there will be some people out there who hate how this ends. For me, there was really no other way things could have turned out and it was the best fit for the story.

Character(s):
I liked Mia a lot, especially because I found her the easiest to relate to among the cast of teenagers. Her love of music and the way she struggled with her family relationships were interesting to listen to and watching her grow up a little over the course of the book and her experiences made me feel really satisfied.

Midori was a little harder to relate to, but I think that’s because we don’t spend a whole lot of time in her head once the three teens meet. She’s more on the shy and quirky side, but she also has a really strong personality under all that. I did want to see more from her perspective because it would have been interesting to see how the story unfolds in her eyes.

Antoine felt whiny and distant when he’s first introduced. Everything with his ex-girlfriend put me off a bit and also affected the way I saw how he related to Midori and Mia. Of the three, I liked him the least because it felt like he was the least developed. I wanted more substance to him that what I got, and I wish he played a slightly bigger role in the overall plot.

Overall:
5 stars. I really enjoyed this and I would definitely read another book by this author if he wrote something else that’s similar to this. If you like sci-fi, I would highly recommend this because it’s easy to understand and has a really engaging plot.

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