I think we could have picked a better book for the 20th book of the bookclub…
172 Hours on the Moon starts off with a prologue set in 2010 where NASA contemplates on sending people to the moon. In order to boost interest and in turn funding for research, they thought it would be a great idea to send teenagers alongside real astronauts to live inside this secret (until now) space station and broadcast it. To choose the 3 teen candidates, they will hold a lottery. So from the prologue, you can only imagine what’s to come: Big Brother(the reality show) but with smart people and 3 kids.
The book jumps from different perspectives and it’s mostly filled with teen angst. The 3 teens chosen were a Norwegian girl named Mia, a French boy named Antoine and a Japanese girl named Midori. Mia, at first, didn’t want to go because she thought it was for the geeks and eventually relented (after being pissy at her parents for submitting her name to the lottery) so that she can further the career of her band. Then Antoine wanted to leave because he got dumped and needed to get away. Finally, Midori wants to escape the humdrum life of Japan. We also encounter a senile old man living in a home who used to be a caretaker at NASA.
The first half of the book went by so fast. A year literally flew by and so did any sense of character development. A whole year passed in one chapter. No lie. Finally, it was their time to go to the moon. The 3 teeens were on their way to New York and somehow weird things happened. A missing J5 terminal, a plane QU crashing, and a 6E painted on a hobo’s jacket warned them not to go to the Moon, but did they listen? Nope. If I had a warning like that, I would think twice. And obviously, there’s a significance to those letters which will be revealed later on.
The interesting part is when they’re actually on the Moon and things started to go wrong. Like a horror movie, people go to investigate the problem, and of course, start dying one by one. Who shall remain? Are our teen heroes alive?
I give this a 2/5. It was OK and I have to admit, I was actually scared at the end of the night after reading this. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of useless things that added nothing to this book. Particularly:
– Why are we seeing Antoine’s Ex-gf’s pov when we barely got to know our protagonists? This isn’t even a character development driven book so who cares?
– Kuchisake onna urban legend (could have picked a better one)
And like any horror movie, you’re left with the what-just-happened? feeling. Nothing makes sense. Like Freddie Kreuger, is he a ghost? What is he? Same with the big bad in this book. What it really is and what it really wants…. you don’t know. But I will say – props to Harstad for using this uncharted big bad territory and intertwining real events in NASA history with the novel.