ARC Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Title: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Genre: Dystopia
Source: NetGalley 
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 12th 2015 

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


I am honestly disappointed. I had really high hopes for this book, and it wasn't what I was expecting at all. I am more disappointed in myself for requesting a book because the cover caught my eye. I didn't dislike like this book as a whole though. I liked the feminist theme, the idea, the world built (somewhat) but there were many things that I disliked as well. 

I didn't connect with either main character. There was just nothing there. I struggled with the verse, it was beautifully written but I wasn't getting a clear picture of anything. The world building came mainly from Kiran's point of view, and that was very limited. I honestly disliked almost all the characters in this book. Sudasa's family was a huge thorn in my side for more then half of this book, it was quite irritating. 

As I mentioned the writing was beautiful, and I do plan on reading more by Holly in the future. Maybe I'll even give this one another go. But as beautiful as the writing was 5 to 1 lacked on certain aspects. I did how ever like the idea behind 5 to 1: Woman taking the upper hand and forming their own country to avoid prosecution of their gender. The feminism message is something that I thoroughly enjoyed, and that was enough to pull me to finish through instead of putting it down and starting something else. I also enjoyed the Indian culture, but is was hard to get a grip because nothing was explained and I don't know much about the culture to begin with. 

Overall I thought this book was a disappointment, I wasn't impressed. If anything I was frustrated. 5 to 1 does have an interesting concept and may work for some people. But for me, this one was meh. 



  1. Aweee... I'm so sad to hear you didn't like this one Amber! I absolutely loved it, but it's true that I do know a bit of Indian culture and I had no trouble with all of that...

  2. Well, this is disappointing.. I have a copy of this one & I am excited to start it soon. I do see your points though, thank you for the heads up :) Fantastic review overall. Hope your next book is a hit for you!

    <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections


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