Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on June 1, 2015 | 5 Comments

Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
Published by Knopf (5.12.2015)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 224 pages
Source: NetGalley

2.5 Stars

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 Kiran, 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. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. 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.

My thoughts

I certainly wasn’t expecting verse! It was a bit distracting, though, which is why I don’t usually read verse. I get so focused on the lyrical quality that I don’t pay attention to what’s happening. Holly Bodger’s prose was beautiful, though! I liked that Sudasa’s POV was written in verse and 5’s was written in regular prose. It made a clear distinction between their voices.

I’m afraid I didn’t connect to the story quite like I’d hoped. While the idea was interesting, it didn’t capture me. And the short length of the story made it seem very abrupt and rushed. I mostly enjoyed it while reading, but it won’t stick with me, which is the main reason for the lower rating despite higher ratings on some things in the Overall Assessment category.

I did like the concept of 5 to 1 being the ratio of men to women, and men compete for the women because they are a prized commodity. I got a very good feel for the dystopian society that Holly painted. I could feel 5’s deep rooted bitterness toward women whenever he spoke of them, and the unfairness of the society.

In the beginning, 5 had a very negative opinion of Sudasa. He thought she was a spoiled rich girl, and he thought that she looked down on him. He also thought that she wanted her cousin to win because he was the rich boy. I enjoyed how those opinions changed as he got to know her, and he came to realize that she wanted to get out as much as he did.

Also, there was a year!! That’s always a plus for me.

Favorite quote

“A man is measured,
not by the answers he finds,
but the questions he asks.
Find an answer
and you stand still.
Stop asking questions
and you die.”

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
World-building: 3.5/5
Pace: 3.5/5
Feels: 1/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

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5 responses to “Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

  1. I’ve heard different reviews about this book, but none ever said that there was a verse. I don’t really understand verse that well, either :( I’m still undecided if I should read this book. But hey, great review. And I love that quote!

  2. This is the first time I’m hearing about verse in this book. It’s not a style of writing I usually read! I cannot wait to read the book after that beautiful quote.

  3. I love reading books written in verse! I’m actually about to read Tilt and Tricks both by Ellen Hopkins, and she writes in verse/prose. 5 to 1 sounds really interesting though, even if the prose and verse took away some focus from the plot. Great review :)

  4. Totally agree with the pacing. it’s too fast. I didn’t know what was going on until it happened and it felt like I was just run over by something. I was still there going, “what?” after the book was over. I loved the writing, though. So yeah, pretty much everything about your review!

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