5 to 1 by Holly Bodger Review

5  to 1 by Holly Bodger Review5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
Published by Random House Children's Books on May 12, 2015
Genres: Asia, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, General, Girls & Women, People & Places, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 256

Part Homeless Bird and part Matched, this is a dark look at the near future told through the alternating perspectives of two teens who dare to challenge the system. In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. Sudasa, though, doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing. This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view--Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose--allowing readers to experience both characters' pain and their brave struggle for hope.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger is one of the most unique books that I’ve ever read! It is set in India during 2054 dealing with a futuristic world where male and female roles have switched (also wrote in verse). I haven’t read a book that is written in verse in a long time. 5 to 1 is wrote using both verse and prose to differentiate between two different characters.

I absolutely LOVED the writing style. The writing style is my most favorite part of this book. It isn’t really a character driven story, so the main focus is on the world building and the plot, which is ok. However, I felt like the characters and character development lacked a little bit. Sudasa is an awesome main character, but I would have liked it better if more focus would have been put on her and Kiran. But I must say the diversity was great! Most of the time within young adult the characters, plot, and descriptions are so similar, but with 5 to 1 the story and atmosphere was completely different then what I am use to.

In India during 2054, female and male roles have been switched and so men only have one purpose – getting married and fathering children. In a way, I guess it is kind of like it use to be in United States where women typically got married, had children, and that was that. That is what was expected of you. I think feminists will enjoy this book!

Anyway, the boys have to compete with each other in what is known as the “Tests” in order to have a chance at finding a wife and getting married. Told in multiple points of view is the story of Sudasa and Kiran and how they want other things. I would have liked a relationship between them, but it was actually really nice for change not to have all of the teenage angst and love triangles going on.

The only things that I didn’t really like about 5 to 1 is the ending and how there was not enough focus on character development. It is really isn’t “the ending” per se I just wanted to know a lot more. I don’t usually mind open endings but sometimes you just want to know more details ;)

I definitely recommend everyone picking this one up! Even if verse and prose may not be your thing, I think it is worth reading just simply because gender inequality is still a thing…And it has one of the most unique plots ever.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Overall: four-stars


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Samantha is a 31 year old reader, blogger, sucker for Netflix, and of course a Hogwarts Graduate (Gryffindor!). Her Siberian Husky completely owns her...so he thinks. Follow Samantha on Goodreads.

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