Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: 5 To 1 by Holly Bodger

5 to 1Title: 5 To 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date:  May 12th 2015
Pages: 224
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Stand Alone
Source:  ARC


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.

This book went on and off my radar for a very long time before its released date. I love the cover, it fascinates me. I love books written in prose, they are beautiful. I thought the summary sounded interesting but was skeptical. It sounded like another dystopian. Well I read it and and I enjoyed it. It did have some flaws, but it was also very captivating. It was a quick read and I had a hard time putting it down despite it’s flaws. Did I love the book, no, it didn’t wow me but I did like it and I think it was a pretty compelling read.

A story about a girl who has to choose a man to marry. She has to choose between five that are competing to show their worth as a husband. She doesn’t want to choose, doesn’t want to marry, doesn’t want this life. A story about a boy that is in this competition but really doesn’t want to be. Doesn’t want to be chosen, but he is the best at everything. A story about a society that went wrong. A society that was built after baby girls were discarded, now there isn’t enough girls for the

boys so there is a competition. Boys have to prove themselves worthy to be a husband and could possibly create girl babies. This is the story of one boy and one girl who want to escape this life.

First off, the book was written beautifully and that was the one thing that kept me reading this book. The story was interesting but nothing that hasn’t been done before with a slightly different plot. It is a dystopian. It does not read like a dystopian. The writing style is half prose half narrative. The girl was written in prose and the boy was written in narrative. Both inflicted a very depressing tone that made me connect and feel for these characters. Which was a feat in itself since the book was very short. The writing was all thoughts not much character interaction or action at all, which also surprises me on the character development. I normally need more character interaction to connect and feel. This book I did not. The writing was just magnificent.

So I loved the writing, I loved the pace, I loved the characters. The back story was there too. Very interesting how it all came together, this society. It was feasible, it can be foreseen now in some countries. It was believable. It was a dystopan, in the future, but it read very modern, so it was easy to feel and see this world and really believe the story. The history lessons, the ones I usually dread if there was too much and hate when there is too little. This book had just the right amount to really love and understand the story.

Not only was the world believable the culture was beautiful in sad way. There were so many colors and glitter, beauty everywhere in the clothes and make up, but that was where it ended. The rest of this world was gray and sad, well at least that is what I felt. The descriptions were full and wonderful for the culture, the dress, the actions, but drab for the world itself. This was perfect for setting the tone.

So now you ask, what were the flaws… well only one main one, I didn’t get much resolution. I felt that the ending was there but it was left for me to fill in and feel where it really went. No absolute. Were the warnings about the outside of the wall true, did anyone really escape. What happens with the two main characters. I can see where it may have gone but not for sure that is truth. I am not good with these type of endings. Some are, I am not. I need absolute. It wasn’t enough of a downer for me to take away the beauty of the book. I still very much enjoyed it, so this flaw was easy to get past and say this is a wonderful book.

The other minor flaw I liked the read, it engaged me very well, but I just never felt the wow factor. There was no real climax. It was all even killed, no suspension, no eager to know what happens, no wow moments at all. I don’t always need the wow factor to enjoy the book but it kept me from that well feeling of WOW that just happened or WOW that book was amazing, or WOW really not sure how to handle all this. It was however a nice easy breezy read that hooked me from start to end.

A great read for a slow or easy going relaxed afternoon.

Holly BodgerA long-time resident of Ottawa, Canada, I have been working in publishing since I graduated with an English degree from the University of Ottawa.

I am represented by Lauren MacLeodof The Strothman Agency, LLC. My debut novel, 5 TO 1, will be coming out May 12, 2015 from Knopf (Penguin Random House).I am also the author of TEN which was a finalist for the 2013 RWA Golden Heart (YA Category).


  1. I'm definitely intrigued by this book, but open endings make me crazy sometimes. Hmmm ... can't make up my mind about this one.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Some maybe very happy with the ending. I think it leads quite a but i jut felt i needed more.

  2. I haven't heard of this book until now. Despite the flaw you mention, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Thanks for the wonderful review and for stopping by. Happy reading :)

    1. I did enjoy and would recommend it still.

  3. it sounds really great especially when you talked about the culture but the ending... I don't know... Great review though, I'd really love to think further about this one :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

    1. The culture was great to read about. It was very well done too. i could picture it all.

  4. The cover sure grabbed my attention! I think this sounds like a good book. I am intrigued. I may give it a whirl when I am in the mood for a dystopian. I also want to read about the culture you described. Sorry it didn't wow you. Great review!

    1. It didnt wow me but it was still a good read. .I think it may wow many though. It was very well written.

  5. And here I thought it was going to be original *sigh* :( At least it had beautiful writing and that it kept you reading (I've only read a few that has done that, because usually I DNF otherwise). Glad it was enough to make it believable but not too much that it made it confusing or info dump, which boooring. ;)
    NOOOOOO, the one thing I really hate (and will make me hate a book for it) is the non-ending. I don't mind open endings, if everything is mostly tied up, but not really giving you an ending? Nope. :(


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