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Johan Harstad is a Norwegian young adult author. He won the 2008 prestigious Brage prize in the children's literature category for 172 Hours on the Moon.
A chilling, shivers-down-the-spine thriller...a high-quality piece of meticulously researched and realistic sci-fi/horror. This near-future tale falls within the blurry walls of young adult fiction but there's nothing to deter older readers. There are no punches pulled when it comes to offing major characters all the way through, and the final twist is satisfyingly merciless. - Sun - John WyattGripping and suspenseful, 172 Hours will have readers constantly asking themselves how the characters can possibly survive. Original, creepy, intense, and quite violent, 172 Hours is page-turning sci-fi that will stay with readers long after the shocking and heartbreaking conclusion. - School Library JournalThis irresistible premise is often intoxicating and occasionally downright terrifying... Ultimately, this downbeat novel offers few answers, just the cold, unfathomable depths of space - and that alone is pretty darn effective. - BooklistCreepy and bleak, Harstad's story is both psychologically and atmospherically disturbing. - Publishers WeeklyA nifty surprise ending will get readers' attention. Interesting and original. - Kirkus
Norwegian author Harstad makes his YA debut with this chilling combination of science fiction and horror, which won that country's Brage Award when it was first released there in 2008. A mysterious signal on the Moon prompts humanity to return there in 2019 to address unfinished business, though the true goal of the mission is obscured by a massive publicity stunt: taking three teenagers along with the regular crew. French Antoine, Japanese Midori, and Norwegian Mia are the three winners of a globe-spanning lottery, each with his or her own reasons for wanting to travel to the Moon. Unfortu-nately, their hopes and dreams mean little when inexplicable, terrifying things start happening shortly after their arrival at the long-disused DARLAH 2 base, and the trip turns into a desperate struggle for survival. Harstad effectively builds tension by moving among the perspectives of adults and teens on the Moon and on Earth; readers don't get to know the characters terribly well, which only adds to the book's icy remove. Creepy and bleak, Harstad's story is both psychologically and atmospherically disturbing. Ages 12-up. Agent: Nicole James, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 10 Up-In 2019, three teenagers embark on the journey of a lifetime: a weeklong stay inside a space station on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. Selected by international lottery in NASA's publicity-grabbing campaign for funding, Mia, Midori, and Antoine have relatively little training or even interest in science or the space program. As the mission quickly turns from bad to worse, the teens and astronaut crew soon realize that they are not alone. Gripping and suspenseful, 172 Hours will have readers constantly asking themselves how the characters can possibly survive. The smooth translation flows well, and, despite a somewhat slow-paced beginning, the story grabs readers and doesn't let go. The young people, initially bratty and self-serving, grow more sympathetic through their intense fear and acts of courage. A chilling final twist will make readers want to revisit certain events to see how they could have possibly missed it coming. With descriptions of the desolate, eerie lunar surface and the creepy 1970s space station, Harstad deftly enables readers to experience the otherworldly environment. An author's note describes factual events about extraterrestrial communication and the NASA space program. Several illustrations, advertisements, maps, and photographs are included, all of which enhance the story and help readers envision an environment they will likely never visit. Original, creepy, intense, and quite violent, 172 Hours is page-turning sci-fi that will stay with readers long after the shocking and heartbreaking conclusion.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.