5 to 1 (5 to 1 #1) by Holly Bodger

March 12, 2016
5 to 1, Holly Bodger, Book Review, InToriLex
5 to 1


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 doesn’t want to be a wife, and Contestant Five, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Five’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Five 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 Contestant Five’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.


The diversity and unique premise of this dystopian immediately got me excited to read this book. The contrast of the verse and the prose worked well, and I finished this short book way too fast. In the book girls are held as the most valuable and powerful in a small community that has rejected the rest of the country. It shows how arranged marriage and treating one gender as less has negative consequences, whether it's the girls or the boys. Sudasa and Karin have difficult choices to make and follow through on. The lack of romance between them was realistic and appreciated considering the instalove that is so common in YA novels. 
"Obedience is fickle that way. It's a virtue to it's master but a vice to it's slaves" 
Mindy, Book Review, 5 to 1, Holly Bodger
There was great writing in this book. The author was able to use descriptive and memorable prose without it coming off as forced or unnecessary. The issue I did have was the lack of world building. There was enough to give you the gist of the world, but not enough to answer the many questions I thought of while reading. The social issues that this explores worked without coming off as disingenuous and the plot flowed well.  The characters were well developed and their indecision was presented in a suspenseful way. The ending has me anxious for a sequel and I'm looking forward to reading more about these characters and this world. I would recommend this to fans of young adult stories, who enjoy lyrical prose and diverse memorable characters. 
"He said you can never tie down a person's soul. If he wants to leave he will, whether he takes his body with him or not."
**The author has a free novela from Surina's point of view HERE.**

Reviews in Series
The Other One (5 to 1 #1.5) by Holly Bodger

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