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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 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.