Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.
This week’s featured book is 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad:
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 43 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Release Date: April 17, 2012
- Source: Publisher
It’s been four decades since the last manned space shuttle explored the moon. NASA, desperate for funding, creates a massive international contest in which teenagers can enter to win a week-long trip to the moon base DARLAH 2. No one but top NASA insiders are aware this moon base exists. The three winners-Antoine, Midori, and Mia-have no real interest in space travel and are shocked to learn they won the contest.
Before heading to NASA for training, each of the winners witness strange experiences meant to deter them from their journey. This is unknown to each of them and they proceed with the mission as planned. Little do they know there was a reason NASA hasn’t embarked on a mission to the moon…a dark and deadly reason.
After two months of training, the mission begins. It’s not long before they touch down on the moon that everything starts going wrong: computer malfunctions, sightings of mysterious individuals…and death. Soon, the crew has been nearly depleted and it is up to the surviving teens to find a way to get back to Earth.
172 Hours on the Moon is a completely engrossing and intense read. Quite frankly, I was surprised I haven’t heard much about this book. The premise is completely unique and original. By far one of my most favorite things about this book was the character development. Harstad devoted nearly a third of the book to building up the characters. A great deal is learned about Antoine, Midori and Mia before their feet even touch down on the Moon. The pacing of the novel follows this progression, starting out slow with the development of the characters and dramatically intensifying as soon as the mission begins. And the ending!? Wow…I was floored, never anticipating it!
I listened to the audiobook production of this novel. The narrator, Casey Holloway, does outstanding job of portraying the teen voice of each of the main characters, each from different nations and with different accents. I found myself forgetting there was just one narrator for her range of accents was so profound and distinct.
While I am happy that I listened to the audiobook, I am sorry I missed out on the photos and illustrations that apparently grace the print version. That said, I’m making it my mission (pun intended!) to get my hands on a copy!
Bottom line: 172 Hours on the Moon is a completely thrilling, chilling and frankly, terrifying novel. It will most certainly be making an appearance on my favorites list this year!