The year is 2054 and India has a ratio of 5 boys to 1 girl. Girls have now become valuable assets. To combat the selling of daughters to the highest bidder, a group of women have founded a closed country they named Koyanagar. In Koyanagar, young men are chosen to compete for a chance to marry a girl. It is now Sudasa's turn to witness the testing of five young men and then choose one to become her future husband. Sudasa does not want a husband, she does not want to marry and bear children. She wants the opportunity to decide her own future, but that's not an option for her at this time.
Kiran is Contestant #5 in the lineup of young men competing for Sudasa's hand in marriage. He is there not by choice, but because to refuse is to die. He should be striving to win, because the options for the unchosen are few and usually result in a miserable existence ending much too soon. Life for the unchosen is so bad that many take their own lives shortly after the competition. Kiran, however, has secrets and plans - plans that do not include marrying some simpering, sheltered fool of a girl. He tries to purposely lose without looking like he's throwing it away, but the girl keeps trying to reward him. If she chooses him, it will be the end of everything he has been striving for.
This book is a refreshing break from teen love stories. There are no love triangles, in fact there is no love story here at all. It is a well done dystopian, also very refreshing. The premise is different and well executed. While the world building is not as extensive or detailed as it could be, it is absolutely sufficient for the story, which centers on the characters themselves. The alternating POV between Sudasa (written in verse) and Kiran (written in prose) is effective and very well done. An enjoyable and thought provoking read that is highly recommended! Ages 12 and up.