Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: FMPL
Format: Hardcover
ISBN:  9780385391535



I originally heard about this book when attending ALC earlier this year, and although I couldn’t get an ARC of it my volunteer had commented on it the other day and thus resulted in me reading it the night before I handed it over to her – it’s only fair, right? 😉

This dystopian-style novel based takes place in 2054, an Indian country decides to rebuild itself with a newer laws and practices. Where once men controlled all the decision and a one-child law had taken place was now a woman controlled state where honor and “fairness” is prided upon, where baby girls are prided over baby boys – whom are abandoned or aborted illegally (if you had enough money). After twelve years, where once few men were sent to The Wall to keep riffraff from getting in are now making sure nobody gets out.

5 to 1 is the story of a girl forced, along with 7 other girls, to choose a man to wed based on the State’s tests which follow certain criteria but in the end is entirely up to the girl. 40 boys are “randomly” chosen from The Registry and 5 of these boys are presented to one of the 5 girls anonymously on a stage. Every round the girl hands out a certain number of rocks to 3 boys whom she believes are better qualified than all the rest to become her husband slave and are most able to ensure she bares daughters.

Sudasa does not agree with these tests and wants nothing more to get away from it all. From carrying the burden her grandmother has forced upon her. From her disgusting cousin who just ‘happened’ to be of the five chosen to be a suitor.  Kiran is a farmboy who wants to get out. These two characters are connected by a story about a famous cricket player before the walls were built.

This is a great story! I have one issue with it all, although it’s dystopic and I appreciate the uniqueness in the story, although it kind of reminds me of Matched (kinda), my problem is it’s about Indian cultures – phrases, clothing, etc. – it’s written by a white author. Although I typically don’t raise much fuss, I guess I just thought this book was going to written by a person of color.



About Black ' n Write Reviewer

Library Tech grad who is currently working on a BA in Political Science and filling all her time with books.
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6 Responses to Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

  1. I hear the author infuses quite a bit of Indian culture into this thought-provoking story. And it’s told in verse, I think someone told me? The concept is fascinating, and lovely review ❤

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    • You’re right, Rachel! The story itself is based in Koyanagar, which is a town in India. And parts are in verse, the author did verse-script for the female character Sudasa, and regular text for the male character Kiran. (I always like when authors do stuff like that :D)
      And thank you 🙂

  2. tonyalee says:

    I’ve seen mixed reviews on this one — and I am still undecided if i want to read it! I am glad to see you enjoyed it overall 🙂

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