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Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire

(Arlo Finch #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,143 ratings  ·  380 reviews
Arlo Finch thought becoming a Ranger meant learning wilderness skills, like camping and knots. But upon arriving in the tiny town of Pine Mountain, Colorado, Arlo soon learns there's so much more. His new friends Indra and Wu teach him how to harness the wild magi seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods - a parallel realm of wonder and danger.

First he must master the bas

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
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John August Arlo Finch is a young-looking 12 years old in Valley of Fire.

Every kid is different, but if they enjoy adventurous fantasy fare, Arlo is suitable for…more
Arlo Finch is a young-looking 12 years old in Valley of Fire.

Every kid is different, but if they enjoy adventurous fantasy fare, Arlo is suitable for both the classic middle-grade audience (ages 8-12) and older. Friends tell me it's also good for chapter-a-night.(less)
Bob Number 1
The others are out now…more
Number 1
The others are out now(less)

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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,143 ratings  ·  380 reviews

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Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A few weeks ago, my husband sent me the first episode of this new podcast called Launch, saying that he thought I would enjoy it. So I gave it go, and turns out he was right. I loved it!
Launch is hosted by screenwriter John August, who recently decided he wanted to write a children’s book. So he did. And then he made a podcast about the creation of the book, starting with the moment he began writing his story, to in the latest episode discussing how books are printed. John August talks to peopl
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, fantasy
Arlo moves back to the small town in the Colorado mountains where his mother was raised. His father has fled the U.S. to China, as he is being chased by the FBI over technology, and his mother lost her job after losing her temper. Arlo is a bit of a worrier and a loner, but eventually decides to join the Rangers, a local outdoors club, where the adventures go beyond the natural into the supernatural. It is nice that the Rangers are open enrollment: boys and girls, and his two closest friends are ...more
Meet Arlo Finch, his world is about to go topsy-turvy when he finds out that magic is real... and that someone is after him.

I have been trying to write a review for 6 days, but it just isn't working. May also have to do that I am sick as hell, and just want to sleep all day. I still want to give my thoughts on this book so I will write a good/not so good review.

-The scout stuff. Man, I wish my scout days were this awesome, I would have been way more enthusiastic about it. Magic, learning al
Marian Rakestraw
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
It only took me like 4 hours to read this book!

This book was so adorable! The team-ness and kids-seeing-monsters-ness and the Rangers and the family...was just so sweet! I'll definitely read the next one!
Vi ~ Inkvotary
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it

Arlo is finally there, where his mom grew up. A tiny town in the mountains, with a weird uncle and a lot of things he doesn´t know. His sister has started to act strange, no internet at his new home and a father far away, he becomes friends with some kids at school. And with them, he starts to discover that there is more to his new life than he could have ever imagined.

In a bit sarcastically tone, the author brings you close to the life and adventures, Arlo is experiencing after moving
Lorie Barber
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
Loved Arlo, his friends, his tenacity, and his skepticism. The things he was doing hint at AWESOMENESS to come, or, as Wu said, “No one can do what Arlo can do. I believe him. I don’t need to know why or how.” I can’t wait to see where Arlo’s journey takes him and the Blue Patrol.
Katie Reilley
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved Arlo and his friends! Great new middle grade fantasy about friendship and loyalty that’s packed full of adventure. Can’t wait to learn more of the Rangers secrets (what does that yellow neckerchief mean?) and about the Long Woods. Looking forward to a sequel!
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This is a great middle schooler book. It has quirky characters who each have their strengths, fantasy in creatures and another dimension, and suspense that keeps anyone turning the pages. Recommend for middle schoolers but really for anyone that wants a fun read.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle-grade readers and their teachers and librarians
Recommended to Relyn by: an ad on one of my regular podcasts
I love middle-grade fiction. Who knew? I've long loved children's lit and YA, but I didn't realize how much I loved middle-grade fiction until I became a school librarian. I am finding more and more to love about books written for fourth through sixth graders. This book is DEFINITELY a book to love.

I discovered Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire thanks to John August's podcast Launch. If you haven't listened to it yet, you really should. It's a perfect podcast for books lovers. August walked us t
Barb Dixon Palmieri
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-readers
Loyal, Brave, Kind and True -
Keeper of the Old and New -
I Guard the Wild,
Defend the Weak,
Mark the Path
And Virtue Seek.
Forrest Spirits Hear Me Now
As I Speak My Ranger's Vow.

With such notable movies under John August's belt like Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Frankenweenie, I was a little excited about this book. The main character is your average 12 year old boy. Except he is smaller than his classmates, is worried about everything and he has heterochromia iridum. One of his ey
Kate Puleo Unger
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book! I just loved it. Middle grade that doesn’t talk down to the reader is always a winner in my book, but then on top of all of that, this book has a great adventure story. I found myself wanting to just keep reading this book until I could finish it. It killed me that it took several days because of other things in my life. I cannot wait to read this book with my son, and I kept telling Jim that he needed to read it. I think we’ll buy it on audio right before the second book comes out ne ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this to my 7 yr old daughter after we finished the Narnia series and were looking for something of similar quality. Not disappointed!! This is a fantastic tale, with great characters and themes. It is compelling and spooky, kind of like C.S. Lewis meets David Lynch, but also unapologetically 2018. The writing is excellent (I can't stand to read patronising, dull prose and find most children's books utterly tiresome to read). I enjoyed it as much as my daughter and would heartily recommend ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Middle school teachers, take note! This book reminded me how much I enjoy middle grade! I think if you love Percy Jackson, you should give Arlo a shot. Or, if you know anyone who is in scouts, rangers, beavers, girl guides or the like, buy them this book! It made me want to go out and tie knots. Or, alternatively, design a novel unit for a grade 6 class.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gravity Falls meets Harry Potter.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a fantastic story about friendship, loyalty, bravery, and a young kid finding his place in the world.
Imagine scouts but with magic and dark forces lurking in the woods where you camp. Lots of mystery and adventure here, sure to be a summer reading hit!
Wynn Netherland
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fun, fantasy-laden mountain adventure story for young readers that doesn't speak down to them. I picked up this book to read with my ten year old and couldn't put it down myself. ...more
Shaye Miller
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is book #1 of a middle-grade fiction fantasy series and I honestly didn’t realize who the author of this series was until I was starting book #2. If you’re not already aware — John August is an American screenwriter well-known for some of his popular children/family movies, such as: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, and the recent Aladdin. So while this is his debut middle grade book, August isn’t new to writing stories centered around highly unusual (and super ...more
Viki Holmes
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved loved this. Tenacious bravery, camping, links to magical, faerie-influenced worlds. Likeable characters and believable relationships, compelling works building, yes please. Comparisons to Harry Potter unavoidable, but you know what? (whisper it) maybe I like this better? There’s CAMPING! I concede this story probably wouldn’t have been written without HP’s having gone before, but then, HP is hardly a trailblazer (Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, hem hem) so I’m very excited ...more
Amy Ingalls
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a giveaway and waited way too long read it. It was one of those books where, as you're reading, you can envision scene after scene as a hit movie or television show. I teach sixth grade and cannot wait to get this into the hands (or ears-- I may use it as a class read-aloud) of my students. It has everything-- adventure for boys and girls, kids of different ethnicities (where it isn't a thing, it isn't mentioned, they just are), camping, scouting (Rangers), fire, magic, and my ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. The beginning was quite confusing for me in terms of the actual fantasy world, but I understood it a little more the more I read. Arlo and his friends were such likable characters and despite it having some typical tropes (a chosen one who is attacked by an unnamed enemy), I really felt like John August was able to breathe a new life into that trope and make it feel new and refreshing regardless. The cliffhanger at the end makes me look forward to the second book, which ...more
A solid adventure story I'd recommend to kids at the library. It's got a great setting (Colorado mountains/forests), a cool scout group Arlo joins (reminded me a little of Harry going to Hogwarts), and good mystery/action. I wasn't crazy about following Arlo as a main character - a lot of the time he was completely clueless. The magic is sparse and grounded in real life, but as someone who reads very little fantasy/magical realism it wasn't as much my jam as it could be for others. ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is the first book in the Arlo Finch series. I enjoyed this middle grade fantasy. The book is well written and easy to read. I liked the setting and characters.

The book is set in current day but takes place in Pine Mountain, a place that borders the Eldritch realm. Arlo moves there with his mother and sister and ends up joining a group called the Rangers. As part of the Rangers he learns about strange things dwell in the Pine Mountain woods and finds out they may be out to get him.

This book
Fredrick Danysh
A delightful middle school fantasy. Following diminishing family resources, Arlo Finch with his mother and sister are forced to move to Pine Mountain to live with his uncle. Arlo joins the patrol in order to fit in but creatures from parallel world pursue him. This was a free review copy obtained through
Kate Lawrie-Van De Ven
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Given that this is YA that I read with my (7-year-old) kiddo, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the book's imaginative concept and characterizations. We both really enjoyed it and are enjoying the second volume in the story now. ...more
noisy penguin
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a quick, very fun and well-written book. My 11 year old son loved it and recommended it when he was done with it. Looking forward to reading the second book as soon as my son finishes it.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!! John August sure can write (which isn't surprising since he wrote movies like Big Fish and The Corpse Bride.) I was fully invested in Arlo, Indra, and Wu right from the get-go and I just did not want anything bad to happen to them ever! I love their friendship. I also always enjoy a good camp/scouts book and I loved that he made a fantasy world based on scouts!! He made scouts, the woods, hiking, and nature more magical! Very excited to read the next books in the series. ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super fun and well-written kids’ book.
Erik Hanberg
Middle grade reader. Nice picture of scouts. But magical! Wouldn’t have picked it up except that I’ve listened to the author’s podcast for years.
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