Book review: 5 to 1, by Holly Bodger

Bodger, Holly. 5 to 1. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. $17.99. ISBN 9780385391535. 246 pgs. Ages 12+. P7Q9.

Bodger 5 to 15 to 1 refers to the ratio of boys to girls in India in 2054. Sudasa is approaching marriageable age, and she (along with other girls) is required to watch a group of boys compete in “tests” for their hands in marriage. In this dystopian future, women have the power and these boys, if they marry, will be at the beck and call of their wives. If the boys aren’t chosen, they will be called into military service and live a very restricted and short life defending the country. Kirin is one of these boys. The reader follows their story- in verse for Sudasa and prose for Kirin, as they struggle against their repressive society and family pressures. Arranged marriage, gender issues, and risking it all to live your own way are some of the themes in this book. I found it very original and well written, and got a good sense of the characters’ personalities and their dreams for a better future. The cover is also really beautiful!

September 2015 review by Carol Schramm.

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