(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Random House Children's Books on May 12th 2015
Genres: Asia, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, General, Girls & Women, People & Places, Social Issues, Young Adult
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 was a quick and engaging read that pulled me into a world where young girls are prized due to an imbalance in genders and young boys are put into a series of tests to earn the right to marry.
Sudasa is a solid main character and although at times I wanted her to do more to rebel against a life she doesn’t believe in, I still liked her. I wish we would have seen more of her outside of the tests to better understand her but I thought the glimpses we did have of her throughout showed just how eager she was to do what she wanted versus what was expected.
Kiran is one of the boys involved in Sudasa’s test. As the test begins, it is clear that he is not interested in marrying and will do whatever he can to “lose” so that he can move his plan forward. And he does have a plan – one that means he needs to make an effort to not show up the obviously rich boy who is also in the test and clearly going to win.
Both of these characters are strong and willing to stand up for what they want in life…not necessarily what the government (and in Sudasa’s case – her family) want for them. The secondary characters weren’t really developed as much as I would have liked as I wanted to know more about both their families. We only got little snippets of the people outside of the test even though some of the characters played a pivotal role in the decisions Sudasa and Kiran made.
As I mentioned, this was a very quick read. The story was great and left me wanting more. It leaves off at a point in these character’s stories that had me flipping the next page wondering where the rest of the book was. I seriously want to know what happens next for both Sudasa and Kiran. Bodger explores this dystopian world and integrates two very different voices that kept me engaged. If you are looking for a unique story told in a unique way, definitely check this one out.
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