I read this norwegian book a few years back and it became one of my favorites. Last year it was published in english and I think it deserves some attention, so I'm giving my review based on my norwegian review from back when I read it and what I remember of the experience.
It has been a while since the moon landing and now NASA has given three teenagers the opportunity of a lifetime to travel into space in a worldwide lottery. The lottery is a way for NASA to create attention and to get financial support to this expensive excursion. The three winners are Mia from Norway, Midori from Japan , and Antoine from France. We meet them before they win in all three countries to get to know them. Mia plays in a punk band and hopes this lottery will help her band get famous, Antoine is so heartbroken that he wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as posible, and finally Midori wants freedom from her very strict parents. Before they go they all receive some sort of warning not to go. What they don't know and we only get to know little by little, space is a lonely and very dangerous place.
The best part of the book for me is the mood the writer creates. It's dark, scary, and David Bowie's "Space Oddity" keeps playing in my mind when I think about this book. I also liked that you get to know all three of the characters in their own countries before they go to NASA for training. Even though the characters are not the most important part of the story for me, or what I remember the most, I do remember this part where we got to know a little bit about their background and culture. Still what makes this book different from many other YA-books and thrillers are the mood and definetely the environment. The Moon must be the creepiest place on earth and Johan Harstad does an excellent job describing it as such. I have read more YA, sci-fi, and fantasy after I read this book than I had before so I don't know if I would have liked it just as much now, but I'll still claim it's original, creepy and very thrilling. I recommend you not to read this before bedtime, at least not if you know you scare "easy".
Checked out at the school library