5 To 1 by Holly Bodger | Book Review + Giveaway

I love reading books where the story feels completely new and not like the same thing over and over and over again. Holly Bodger’s 5 To 1 is one of those books where I feel like the concept is totally unique and where I feel as though there is something special about the book I am reading. I was so into 5 To 1 that I finished it within hours, quickly paging through on my Kindle to unravel Sudasa and Kiran’s story while also getting a firm grasp on the world and setting.

5 To 1 is set in the year 2054 in India. FYI — there are not nearly enough dystopias about non-white people that I am aware of. This book needs to be trumpeted. Anyways, at this time, gender selection has lead to an imbalance of the sexes. For every five boys there is one girl, which makes repopulation quite difficult. Actually, this element of the book reminded me of those Among The Hidden books by Margaret Peterson Haddix — that’s another book where there is a population law. So, anyways, the two main characters, Sudasa and Kiran live in the walled city of Koyanagar. There girls are valued and being a female means you are given things by the state as opposed to boys who are a dime a dozen. Sudasa is of age which means that five boys will compete for her hand in marriage through a series of tests and games. Kiran is one of those competitors. He’s not really into Sudasa, but he has a plan. A head’s up — there is zero romance in this book, so don’t get disappointed at the lack of slow burns and kissing.

Sudasa’s name means obedient, according to the book. However, she’s not quite obedient. I mean, mostly her actions are. Yet, within her beats a rebel heart. A heart that longs for something different and something more than Koyanagar. In fact, Sudasa has lived a relatively privileged life. Her sister is the face of this public campaign about being a good girl. Her father used to be famous. Her family has lived in the lap of luxury. Her grandmother, Nani, was even part of Koyanagar’s history and a part of the games. That’s why Sudasa feels a bit of shock and disappointment when one of the competitors is her cousin – a spoiled, indolent young man who was raised in the lap of luxury as well. Sudasa does not want to marry her cousin, yet it is as though she has no choice.

In contrast with Sudasa and her privileged life is Kiran. Kiran is number five out of the five boys competing for her hand in marriage. Kiran has lived a life next to sea, working for all that he has. He lives with his father. His mother ran away and crossed over the wall leaving Kiran and his father behind. This means that Kiran has this yearning to know what exactly happened to his mother. He feels that competing in the marriage games will get him an answer. The thing that I liked about Kiran is that despite not having any wealth, he is honorable and noble.

What felt unique about Holly Bodger’s 5 To 1 is that the book is written using both free verse and prose. Sudasa’s chapters employ free verse which make sense because she loves poetry in all it’s forms. She’s elegant and intelligent, sort of like the writing form her chapters take on. As for Kiran, his chapters are told using prose. His chapters are fairly action oriented and maybe not as elegant and lovely as Sudasa’s. Creatively, I think that this writing decision really works well for the story. I loved how this book was written and just the whole experience of reading it.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. The Giver

  2. don’t have a fav

  3. I just read Rook by Sharon Cameron and it is now an absolute favorite!

  4. This book sounds so good! I’m so excited for it. The gender imbalance idea sounds really unique and I can’t wait to see how it was done. Great review!
    Lacey recently posted..Review + Giveaway: Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos (ARC)My Profile

  5. Claudia says

    I don’t have a favorite one, but the closest are the books from Mitch Albom.

  6. My favorite dystopian books are all old ones. Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. Thanks

  7. Hard to pick just one! Hmm, the Hunger Games series is definitely one of them.

  8. Would it be cliche to say The Hunger Games? Haha, but I do love the books!
    Holly J recently posted..Cover Reveal: Surviving Ice by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

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