All Things Now Living
All Things Now Living by Rondi Bauer Olson is definitely a unique book. I initially requested to read it because the plot sounded so interesting. It is labeled as YA, which is fine (I enjoy the occasional YA novel), but I didn't realize that it was classified as a "Hi-Lo book". I'd never heard of that term before, but apparently it is a book written on a very low reading level with a very interesting plot to encourage reluctant readers. This particular book has a reading level of 3.2, which is confusing to me because third graders are about 7-8 years old, while YA is generally classified as reading material for ages about 13-18. However, I definitely wanted to give it a fair chance. The book description says:
"Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.
Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.
Publisher's Note: This book is considered a Hi-Lo book - with a reading level of 3.2 - specially designed with the goal of enhancing literacy through literature that engages and drives interest."
The plot sounded so interesting at first glance. I'm a fan of shows such as Under The Dome and have enjoyed other dystopian books like The Hunger Games (which is also YA). However, All Things Now Living held some problems for me. The plot had a lot of holes, and there were a lot of things that were left completely unexplained or didn't make sense. There wasn't much in the way of world building and I felt like I didn't understand much of the background of the story. I wanted some more meat on the bones of the world and story to make it more interesting and less confusing. However, the story was fast paced and a very easy read, so I was able to finish it. I would recommend this for much younger teens, or someone with a low reading level.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in order to provide an honest review. All opinions are my own.