Sweet Sixteener Darcy Woods recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Holly Bodger about her YA Dystopian half-verse novel, 5 TO 1 (May 12, 2016 from Knopf Books for Young Readers).
A long-time resident of Ottawa, Canada, Holly has been working in publishing since she graduated with an English degree from the University of Ottawa. 5 TO 1 is her debut novel.
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.
Darcy: One of the (many, many!) things I loved about 5 to 1 is the unique way you handle the alternating POV. We have Kiran’s chapters told in prose, while Sudasa’s are told in verse. Did you know from the story’s inception you’d want to structure it this way? Or did your characters bosstalk you into it?
Holly: The original version of this novel was actually only from Sudasa’s POV. It wasn’t until I received feedback that the world building was not working in verse that I got the idea to add a second POV. Of course now I can’t even imagine the book without Kiran! It is as much his story as Sudasa’s and I really feel like we need both in order to see the whole picture.