arlo finch
Mayor’s Book Review: ARLO FINCH IN THE VALLEY OF FIRE by John August


Available: February 2018

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Fiction

Age: 4th-8th grade

Mayor’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Arlo and his sister and their mom recently moved back to his mom’s hometown in the mountains of Colorado to live with his Uncle. Arlo quickly realizes that their is magic in the woods that he can see like ghost dogs and a girl who has been missing for years. In his new school, he immediately connects with other kids (he’s never really had friends before so this is a big deal!) and becomes part of the Rangers, an extreme adventure version of the Boy/Girl Scouts. The end of the year Rangers’ competition becomes the center of the story and the trust and team building between Arlo and his teammates is critical as he gets pulled further into the magical world known as the Long Woods.

My Favorite Part: 

I love that this book takes a classic “hero journey” story arc and fills it highly likable and relatable characters . I was rooting for Arlo and his friends all the way. Action, adventure, friendship, and an excellent cliff hanger make this a fantastic pick for young readers.

Who Should Read This Book:  

This is a great fantasy-adventure book for fans of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson type books. It reminds me a bit of Stranger Things that is totally appropriate for 4th-8th graders.


About the Author: 

John August is mostly known as a screenwriter. His credits include Go, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, Titan A.E., Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. Learn more about him here.


Check out more about ARLO FINCH on


Leave a Reply