5 to 1

Holly Bodger
Part Homeless Bird and part Matched, this is a dark look at the near future told through the alternating perspectives of two teens who dare to challenge the system. 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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2020-12-01

This book takes place in the future in an isolated island society. No one is allowed to enter or leave. In this future, girls are the supremely valued gender and boys must audition to marry them. The stakes are high, because the boy who wins gets a life of luxury, but those who lose are forced into difficult, often deadly labor. Good pacing, character development, and a solid level of action all hold the reader's attention. This book is good for readers of both genders and, because it uses straightforward language mixed with a thrilling, unfamiliar storyworld, it can appeal to a broad age range. Its length and overall quality means that nonhabitual readers will enjoy it too. This book has a dark, charged edge to it. It is surprising and unique. I was kept guessing about what was going to happen next. Readers won't be able to put it down.

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