Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire
by John August
published by Roaring Book Press
The first book in a spellbinding fantasy adventure series so believable you may wonder if it's happening in your own backyard.
As Arlo looked around, the walls of his room began to vanish, revealing a moonlit forest. Only his bed remained, and the frame of his window, through which he saw the girl. The world on her side of the glass was sparkling with silver and gold, like a palace made of autumn leaves.
She looked off to her right. Someone was coming. Her words came in an urgent whisper: "If I can see you, they can see you. You're in danger. Be careful, Arlo Finch.”
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 in 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.
Why you want to know this book:
I know you have readers who love to read on the edge of their seat. They want to find books that they fall into and can't pull themselves out of. These readers have a hard time "finding a good place to stop" because bottom line, there is no place to stop - you just have to keep turning the page!
It took me a bit to fall into this book - the story takes just a bit to set up. You learn about Arlo's family and what brings him to Pine Mountain. You meet Arlo's new friends and learn about the group he's going to join - the Rangers, a mountain scouting group. As the background of the story gets set up, there are some weird occurrences - Arlo sees a ghost dog and talks to the reflection of a girl in his window. Once the background is set up, then the action really starts. And that's when my bedtime got stretched just a bit!
Give this book to:
- readers who love suspense and action
- readers who enjoy fantasy
- kids who enjoy being part of a group such as Boy/Girl Scouts
- fans of Harry Potter and Fablehaven series