Sometimes, I like to discover new to me authors and read a story that is a bit out of my usual habits. This book was a bit of a surprise to me with the very special magic in it. Though I believe that this book is for boys AND girls, with the ghostly touch inside I guess that boys will be more attracted by it. But find out for yourself. I, at least, had fun reading it.

Arlo Finch In The Valley Of Fire
by John August
Arlo Finch Trilogy #1
Publisher Roaring Book Press on February 6, 2018
Genre Fantasy
Pages 336
Format Hardcover
Source Library 

Arlo Finch is a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Colorado, a tiny town of mystery and magic, but he´s already attracted the attention of dark and ancient forces. At first, he thinks these increasingly strange and frightening occurrences are just part of being Rangers, the mountain scouting troop where he learns how to harness the wild magic seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods. But soon Arlo finds himself at the center of a dangerous adventure, where he faces obstacles that test the foundations of the Ranger´s Vow: Loyalty, Bravery, Kindness, and Truth.
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 to Pine Mountain. A town that is like no other he´s ever seen or lived in. The mountains are filled with magic, ghosts, and a world, he can sometimes feel. John August describes with only a few words all the magic things, Arlo experiences. There is the mood of a young boy who has to cope with everything new and try to fight the unexpected. I had the most fun reading this book during one scene when Arlo and his uncle have to fight a creature that brought some anger, hate, and humor to the story at the same time. Holy heck, that was great!

Arlo is not like other 12-year-old boys. He is special. Not in a weird way, but yes, special. His elder sister is changing from one mood to the next, the house he lives in looks like a broken shell, and his mother has a new job. With some irony and the obvious thoughts about girls and everything else, the author has created a figure with Arlo who asks questions all the time and who thinks a lot about the “what if” and “how can it be”, etc. 

I like Arlo very much.

This was a wonderful reading pleasure. I think boys will have a great time reading this. The mixture of magic, ghosts, adventure, and danger is very well done and with that end, the reader will definitely want to know how things with Arlo continue.

Happy reading

John August
John August ©Dustin Bocks

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John August earned a degree in journalism from Drake University and an MFA in film from USC. As a screenwriter, his credits include Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. His books include Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire. In addition to his film career, he hosts a popular weekly podcast, Scriptnotes, with Craig Mazin. He also created the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational storytelling tool that was distributed to over 2,000 classrooms in partnership with non-profit literacy groups like 826LA and NaNoWriMo. John and his family live in Los Angeles.



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