May 15, 2015
Hello everyone and welcome to our Tour Stop for
5 to 1 by Holly Bodger!
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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.
The synopsis of 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger really drew me in to wanting to read it. And to be honest, I really didn’t know how I was going to feel! The story is broken down into 2 point of views, Sudasa and Kiran. Not only is it broken down to provide to different voices to the story, but the way in which the sides are told/presented is different too! Sudasa’s side was written in a more lyrical/poetic fashion and Kiran’s side was told in regular story mode. So when the story opened up with Sudasa’s side, and the writing was shown in a verse style, I didn’t know if this would be the book for me, if it was all going to be like that. Thankfully, when the next chapter written in Kiran’s POV was written in prose, I decided to give it a shot. And thank goodness that I did! This book was intriguing and was difficult to put down. I loved that the POVs were easily distinguishable, and that Sudasa’s POV was given a more feminine feel, even though I’m not a fan of the verse style.
In a world where because of decisions made in the past, India is now over populated with boys and girls are a hot commodity. So much so that boys are put to the test to determine who is the strongest and “most deserving” of the girl. Regardless of class, all boys are given equal opportunity to “fight” for the hand of the “maiden”. And herein begins the story.
It is now Sudasa’s time to be married off, and five boys are put before her to pass multiple tests and win their “freedom” and a wife. Unfortunately for Kiran, he has been selected to partake in the events, and fight for a life that he doesn’t want; the winner wins a wife, and the loser becomes a guard at the wall which is a sure death sentence.
For Sudasa, this not a life that she wants either. And so begins the back and forth. As the story progresses, we see just how much both Sudasa and Kiran do not want the life that is being laid out before them. It seems that no matter how hard Kiran tries to not win, Sudasa is interfering with his plans by giving him stones that are awarded to the winners.
As Sudasa realizes what kind of life she wants (with the help of her amazing father), the lives of Kiran and Sudasa slowly twist together in a different game of fate, and the winner is yet to be determined.
The writing style of author, Holly Bodger, is one that easily grabs the reader’s attention and sucks them into an amazing world where the people are pretty much puppets being played by the elders. The characters were interesting in their own way, and the readers can easily side with the good and hate the bad. I absolutely adored Sudasa’s parents, and that regardless of the life that their daughter could have, their love for her and her happiness is the most important. And no matter how much of a jackass Kiran wants us to believe that he is, his true self comes shining through (like a knight in shining armor, if you will), and it’s easy to see just how crush worthy he could potentially become.
Fans of dystopian reads with strong characters and a different reading style will thoroughly enjoy 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger. Grab a copy and check it for yourself. I doubt that you will be disappointed!
HOLLY BODGER has a BA in English Literature and has spent her entire career in publishing. She is an active member of RWA and is a 2013 Golden Heart finalist in the Young Adult category. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.
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