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5 to 1

5 to 1

4.0 3
by Holly Bodger

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA, June 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 2) - Heather Pittman
In India in the year 2052, the ratio of boys to girls is five to one. After years of gender selection favoring boys, society is doomed because there simply are not enough girls. Now girls are in demand, and boys are unwanted. One section of the country has walled itself off and restructured government, putting women in charge and making men second-class citizens. All boys are “tested,” each getting the chance to compete for a wife, regardless of his station in life. Sudasa is not eager to choose a stranger to marry, but she must, particularly because of her powerful grandmother. Kiran has plans of his own, and they do not include marriage. When the system forces Kiran to compete for Sudasa, their lives collide, forcing them both to re-examine everything they think they know about the world in which they live. Sudasa tells her tale in verse, while Kiran’s narration is in prose form. The alternating points of view are handled beautifully. The characters each have clear, strong voices. The poetic nature of Sudasa’s chapters adds greatly to the story. This is an interesting twist on the dystopian scenario, bringing a new element to a subgenre that is stretched thin. The setting is well developed but does not overwhelm the plot or characters. It is refreshing to have non-Caucasian main characters, particularly when race is not a theme of the novel. This is a fast, fascinating story that will appeal to many readers. Reviewer: Heather Pittman; Ages 12 to 15.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In this debut novel told in alternating points of view, one in poetry and one in prose, Bodger explores a future in which gender selection in India has led to there being five boys for every girl. The prose is captivating in its authenticity, portraying Kiran's point of view very well. The poetry is appropriately jarring and nuanced, showing many aspects of Sudasa's culture and lifestyle. Sudasa is about to come of age, meaning that she, along with many other girls just like her, will watch eight boys compete for her hand in marriage. Kiran is one of those boys, but he has a plan to escape the tests, his inevitable military assignment, and the oppression of his country. Sudasa struggles against her grandmother's strong and repressive influence, while Kiran battles pressures from the other boys in his testing group. Over days of trials and judging, Sudasa comes to realize that Kiran may have another agenda besides winning her hand in marriage. Meanwhile, Kiran comes to see that Sudasa is not just a power-hungry woman looking for a male companion to obey her every wish. What these two discover puts them on the cusp of changing their worlds forever. In a not-so-distant future, readers see the possibilities of giving too much power to one gender or the other, and the negative impact that inequality can have on young people and an entire country. VERDICT An engaging dystopian novel set in India that poignantly explores gender politics.—Eden Grey, Kenton County Public Library, KY
Kirkus Review
Another debut. Another dystopia. Another leading man called by a number. In Bodger's soft dystopia, years of legislation restricting families to one child has resulted in a significant imbalance—roughly six boys to every one girl. In Koyanagar, a walled city-state formed on the edge of India in 2042, the small coterie of women in charge has created a series of tests to select the boys who will be lucky enough to win wives. A lottery determines competitors; girls are primped while boys compete, with death as a possible outcome; and no one is happy (sound familiar?). Sudasa narrates in poetry, and Contestant Five (readers do not learn his name until the very end, unless they read the flap copy that completely destroys that particular element of suspense) narrates in prose. They both hate the Tests and wish there were another way. Contestant Five could win but doesn't want to; Sudasa just wants to live her life. It's a match, although neither of them immediately sees how they can help each other. Set over just three days, this novel is a mishmash of tropes that have been done better elsewhere, sophomoric poetry that uses typographic elements for emphasis ("n#mber"), and weak characterization with about as much Indian flavor as the curry powder supermarkets sold in the 1950s. Like most of the boys in the Tests, this one can't compete. (Dystopian romance. 10-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
HL680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Holly Bodger has a BA in English literature and has spent her entire career in publishing. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America and is a 2013 Golden Heart finalist in the Young Adult category. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.

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5 to 1 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
I loved this one. It was a unique, eye-opening take on a social issue, yet still keeping its scifi and dystopian feel. Sometimes with dystopian stories, we think "oh no, that could never happen", yet this brings forth an issue that is already happening, and an extreme look at how it could end up. In this future, there are 5 girls for every 1 boy. This country has closed themselves off from the rest of India, and girls are celebrated, in charge of everything, while the men are treated second-class. While they boast "fairness", it really isn't fair. This story is told from two narratives. Sudasa's is told in verse, and Kiran's is told in prose. I actually somehow didn't know that when I started reading, so it was a nice surprise. The two styles work together to create a beautiful story. Both characters are fighting against the norm. They don't want to be caged into a marriage. They realize the system is wrong, and they want to fight against it. This wasn't what you would typically expect, I think. It wasn't a romance, really, if that is what you're expecting. I flew through this story. But although it is a fast read, it isn't lacking. The details were beautiful and well-explained, so that you had a real sense of what this future was like, what it held. The author had a whole world to build up, but she did that well, in both verse and prose. While you get to know the characters some, I didn't feel as if this was a character-driven story. But that worked for this one. All in all, this was a very well done story. I was worried about the ending, but I loved it. It was open-ended, sure, in the only way that it would work for this story. All in all, a phenomenal story.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
The synopsis of 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger really drew me in to wanting to read it. And to be honest, I really didn’t know how I was going to feel! The story is broken down into 2 point of views, Sudasa and Kiran. Not only is it broken down to provide to different voices to the story, but the way in which the sides are told/presented is different too! Sudasa’s side was written in a more lyrical/poetic fashion and Kiran’s side was told in regular story mode. So when the story opened up with Sudasa’s side, and the writing was shown in a verse style, I didn’t know if this would be the book for me, if it was all going to be like that. Thankfully, when the next chapter written in Kiran’s POV was written in prose, I decided to give it a shot. And thank goodness that I did! This book was intriguing and was difficult to put down. I loved that the POVs were easily distinguishable, and that Sudasa’s POV was given a more feminine feel, even though I’m not a fan of the verse style. In a world where because of decisions made in the past, India is now over populated with boys and girls are a hot commodity. So much so that boys are put to the test to determine who is the strongest and “most deserving” of the girl. Regardless of class, all boys are given equal opportunity to “fight” for the hand of the “maiden”. And herein begins the story. It is now Sudasa’s time to be married off, and five boys are put before her to pass multiple tests and win their “freedom” and a wife. Unfortunately for Kiran, he has been selected to partake in the events, and fight for a life that he doesn’t want; the winner wins a wife, and the loser becomes a guard at the wall which is a sure death sentence. For Sudasa, this not a life that she wants either. And so begins the back and forth. As the story progresses, we see just how much both Sudasa and Kiran do not want the life that is being laid out before them. It seems that no matter how hard Kiran tries to not win, Sudasa is interfering with his plans by giving him stones that are awarded to the winners. As Sudasa realizes what kind of life she wants (with the help of her amazing father), the lives of Kiran and Sudasa slowly twist together in a different game of fate, and the winner is yet to be determined. The writing style of author, Holly Bodger, is one that easily grabs the reader’s attention and sucks them into an amazing world where the people are pretty much puppets being played by the elders. The characters were interesting in their own way, and the readers can easily side with the good and hate the bad. I absolutely adored Sudasa’s parents, and that regardless of the life that their daughter could have, their love for her and her happiness is the most important. And no matter how much of a jackass Kiran wants us to believe that he is, his true self comes shining through (like a knight in shining armor, if you will), and it’s easy to see just how crush worthy he could potentially become. Fans of dystopian reads with strong characters and a different reading style will thoroughly enjoy 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger. Grab a copy and check it for yourself. I doubt that you will be disappointed!
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Told in different perspective, I wasn’t expecting the outcome that I received in the end. This ending was original, refreshing and stunning, I truly enjoyed it. Sudasa’s viewpoint is told in verse and it was entertaining to see the author play with some of the words as she positioned them on the page. I enjoyed her attention to detail as she plucked words from the text and brought them to our attention, making this text engaging and amusing. Sudasa, along with many other seventeen year olds are choosing their husbands. Before the rings can be exchanged, there are tests which the males must pass before the females select them. Not a glamorous or romantic process, but it is the new laws of India. Sudasa knows her duty is to marry and bear a child, a female child. Inside though, she feels conflicted. On the stage with her is her cousin, a male. She knows what is expected of her, what her family expects. He is among the five contestants she is to choose from but Sudasa also knows her own feelings. Meet Contestant Five, his viewpoint is written in prose. Kiran knows his fate lies in the hands of Sudasa and as he performs the tests for her, he holds nothing back. There is something within Kiran that he holds dear to his heart, a comfort of sort that keeps him moving forward. His spirits remain high. I really couldn’t wait to see this novel ended, I was definitely all in. Thank you Net Galley and Random House Children's for a copy of this book to preview.