Why did you choose this book?
I read a description somewhere and was intrigued. I’ve been on a bit of a teen fiction kick lately – you’ll see what I mean once I’ve delved more into my holds list of books.
What’s it about?
The novel is set in more-or-less modern day India. One community was walled off from the rest of the country in an attempt to create a utopian society. Inside the walls, there are 5 boys to every 1 girl, and a complex series of tests must be undertaken by a group of boys to win the hand of a girl in marriage. This is Sudasa’s year to get married, so she watches 5 boys compete for her. She begins to discover that the tests are not as fair or as impartial as everyone believes. Kiran has a complex plan to use the tests as his chance to escape to the outside world and search for his mother, who left as the gates were closing. The chapters from Sudasa’s point of view are written in verse.
Teen fiction, dystopian fiction
Other recommended reads?
In terms of the themes of unlikely relationships, plotting to overthrow the status quo, and romance, I would recommend The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights), The Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (one of my favorite books of the year), and Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (with magic and a more intense dystopian atmosphere).
This book was such a fast read – I finished it in one 2.5 hour sitting! It has an extremely ambiguous ending, which leaves the door wide open for a sequel (not a huge fan of that). It also doesn’t really say anything about the world outside the walled community except that they also have this 5/1 gender issue. I want to know more. I’m also not sure that writing Sudasa’s chapters in verse accomplished much, but it wasn’t all that distracting either. This book was good, but not great, in my opinion.
Hammer Head by Nina McLaughlin