Middle Grade Monday: Review – Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August

MG MOnday

Hey everyone!  We’ve moved Middle-Grade Monday over from our TBR and Beyond Facebook Group to the blog! Hopefully we can bring you lots of great reviews, topics and maybe even some author interviews!
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway!




My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Middle-Grade Adventure/Fantasy
Pages: 336
Pacing: Normal
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Published:  February 6th 2018



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 basics, including snaplights, thunderclaps and identifying supernatural creatures. But Arlo Finch is no ordinary Ranger, and this is no ordinary time. A dark and ancient force is sending threats into the real world…our world. And whatever it is has its sights set on Arlo. – Synopsis by Goodreads


I knew the second I saw the cover for this book that I was going to love it and I was right on the money for this one.  Adventure, Magic, Friendship and lots of chaotic fun!

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire begins as Arlo and his family are moving from another state to move in with his uncle.  His mother has fallen on hard times financially and his father is only partly in the picture, which has been hard on everyone.  Arlo is not too excited about the move since he’s leaving everything he loves to go to the unknown but when he gets to his uncle’s house weird stuff starts happening almost immediately.   Arlo meets his uncle’s dog right off the bat, only issue is that his uncle’s dog has been dog a long time and Arlo seems to be the only one that can see him.  Let’s just say that is only the beginning of the weirdness that starts to befall our young Arlo.

Most of this book centers around Arlo joining the Rangers in his new town and the friends and adventures they go on.  It seems that they all know a little more than the adults when it comes to the town and the odd things that are going on there.  The Long Woods, where the Rangers spend a lot of their time is not quite what it seems and allows them to do some pretty cool stuff while inside.  That would all be well and dandy if it weren’t for the fact that someone or something seemed to be hunting them suddenly and they  have no clue why.  Arlo and his new friends have to work together to solve what is going on and make it back home safe and sound.

I love this book so much, it’s perfect for both children and adults alike – which are always my favorite middle grade novels.  The strong message of teamwork and friendship are prevalent in this one and it really shines through.  The kids really do care about each other and the acceptance they show each other is something we should strive for.  I also loved the Rangers aspect and that it’s not just boys in the group.  It’s completely co-ed which was fantastic to see and I loved hearing about the badges and watching them trying to earn them.  Honestly, this would make such a good movie – why hasn’t this happened? Get on it Netflix!

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire is the first in the trilogy and I can’t wait to read the next book and see what comes next for this gang.  I would highly recommend this book for anyone that loves a good adventure with a little pinch of danger.


10 thoughts on “Middle Grade Monday: Review – Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August

    1. Thank you so much, it means a lot. A lot of adult readers don’t give middle grade a chance and there are so many great and mature stories out there for all ages. It’s not my most popular blog feature, but I love doing it – so it’s a staple for me 🙂


  1. Oh my gosh, how have I never heard of this book?! That cover is STUNNING, and it sounds like a really fun read. I think I might have to pick this one up for my daughter for Christmas, because it sounds like it’d be a great co-read. 😉 Thanks for the review!


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