Just Gus

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 04 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 18 Apr 2023

Talking about this book? Use #JustGus #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Return to the world of devoted working dogs and the humans they love in a new book from the best-selling author of Stella.  

Gus is a livestock guardian dog with one job—protecting his farm from coyotes and foxes. He likes keeping the sheep, the chickens, and his humans safe, and he’s very good at it.

One day, Diego and his dad come to visit the farm, and Gus immediately connects to the small boy. They both like to sit still and enjoy the quiet, and Gus can tell that Diego likes being around a gentle giant of a dog, that it helps relieve the boy’s constant worry.

When Gus detects the scent of a bear in the woods, he rushes to protect his flock, injuring his leg in a fight with the dangerous beast. Wounded, Gus needs to rest and heal away from his sheep, so he doesn’t risk reinjuring his leg. Diego suggests Gus come home with them to the North Carolina coast.

Suddenly, Gus is thrust into a new world of saltwater and sand and neighbors who don’t appreciate the presence of a large guard dog, like the neighbor who reminds Gus of his first owner—the junkyard man with the heavy boots.

Gus realizes Diego might need a friend as much as his sheep need a protector, but if he can’t learn to control his instincts, like barking and patrolling the neighborhood, Gus might lose his chance to stay in his new home. If he can’t protect the farm or his boy, Gus worries he might never find his place in the world.

Just Gus is a tender story of belonging and of two friends who learn they are better together than they were alone.

Return to the world of devoted working dogs and the humans they love in a new book from the best-selling author of Stella.  

Gus is a livestock guardian dog with one job—protecting his farm from...

A Note From the Publisher

STELLA by McCall Hoyle is nominated for eight state book awards in 2022-23: TX, NE, OK, NM, PA, KY, ME, FL.

STELLA by McCall Hoyle is nominated for eight state book awards in 2022-23: TX, NE, OK, NM, PA, KY, ME, FL.

Advance Praise

"Through Gus’ lightly anthropomorphized thoughts (he carefully reports all human conversations he hears despite not necessarily understanding everything), Diego’s overwhelming anxiety is apparent but is eased through his bond with Gus, and soon the dog realizes he has a new purpose as an emotional support animal for Diego. This is a comforting, quiet tale of a working dog slowly transitioning into a new life. Featuring a lovable animal protagonist, a relatable and persistent child trainer, and dog-training information, it’s a compelling read. A gentle portrayal of a canine protagonist adjusting to a new role."


"Through Gus’ lightly anthropomorphized thoughts (he carefully reports all human conversations he hears despite not necessarily understanding everything), Diego’s overwhelming anxiety is apparent but...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781639930937
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

Just Gus by McCall Hoyle is a wonderful fiction that speaks of life, love, adversity, and friendship between humans as well as canines.

This is such a wonderful and heartwarming story. The friendship between boy and canine was so genuine and really tugged at my heart. As someone that really loves dogs and feels the need for their presence in my life, I really identified with this story. It may be geared towards tween and young adults, but adults can easily enjoy and identify as well. I read this first before sharing with my son. I know he will love this as well.

Diego and Gus present as a wonderful pair that through their introduction and partnership of sorts, both find love, acceptance, and a place to belong.

Highly recommend.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 1/24/23.

Was this review helpful?

I adore Gus's story just as much as I loved Stella's story. It was fun to see Esperanza, Close, Nando and Stella again as well as meet new characters. I love dogs and McCall seems to write books that make my heart happy because she truly understands dog and is able to write their stories.

Was this review helpful?

Just Gus is such a heartwarming story. Diego has anxiety and Gus is the perfect calm for his storm. The love and friendship between Diego and Gus is amazing and really touches your heart especially for animal/dog lovers.
I highly recommend this.

Thank you to McCall Hoyle, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and Netgalley for this ARC!

Was this review helpful?

Just Gus is the follow up to Stella but could also read as stand alone. Gus is a livestock guardian dog who lives with Esperanaza and her daughter Chloe, who rescued Stella. Esperanza has a brother and nephew who have come to visit the farm during the summer of the pandemic. Tragedy has come to both dog and human in different forms and they lean on each other to “lick their wounds “ and heal. I read this book with my 10 year old daughter and we both really liked the book.
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

My daughter loved reading Stella and was so excited to see that there was another book in the series coming out. All the beloved characters return in another fun story centering on Gus this time. The story was a little sad at times, but was joyful and heartwarming overall. Definitely recommend this book and thoroughly enjoyed this story. Hope more stories about the rest of the characters continue to come out.

Was this review helpful?

This brought a huge smile to my face. I loved how the novel explored Diego overcoming his anxiety, with the help of his gentle giant - Gus. The relationship between boy and dog was so wholesome and heartwarming, and the illustrations made it even better. I recommend it to everyone of all ages and dog lovers too.

Was this review helpful?

McCall Hoyle's novels about dogs are just pure serotonin and absolutely wholesome. Just Gus is a spin off from Hoyle's previous book Stella that came out last year and was just as amazing. They can be read separately or together but I recommend together to meet all the characters. I loved Gus, he was such a good dog and I wanted to give him a big hug through the story. I recommend reading this asap for any dog lovers and this is also great for all ages!

Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy and can't wait to see if there will be another book!

Was this review helpful?

This was such a sweet book! I loved the character of Gus and how we got to see the world from his perspective. I also love all the characters and how they're written.

Was this review helpful?

My daughter and I both read this and it was so cute. My daughter absolutely enjoyed this and asked if we could look up the author for other books. I love animals and anytime there’s a dog in the book, I’m usually all in. If you want a cute, fast read, grab this one for you and the kids!

Was this review helpful?

Just Gus is a wonderful tale told from his point of view. McCall beautifully writes a story of love and purpose. I am fascinated how she uses the animals point of view, yet they have no dialogue. Only the humans talk. A book for animal enthusiasts of all ages.

Was this review helpful?

Gus is a livestock guardian and he is great at his job. But one night while protecting his flock he smells something different and it is when one of the other dogs runs out after it that Gus remembers the smell, Bear. He runs to protect his family and gets hurt in the process, when he comes home from the vet and must rest, but only Diego understands him and is just there letting him figure ow to do things out by himself, of course a bunch of bacon doesn’t hurt. Once he gets so he can move about some he doesn’t want to rest, he thinks he needs to resume his duties as a livestock guardian. That is when Diego asks if they could take him home with them to recuperate. That is when Gus learns the most important lesson of his life.
This is the best book and shines a light on the proper assistant animals. I really enjoyed this book so much I hope there are many more like it in the future. I wish we all knew what our pets where thinking it would make things so much easier. If you like working dogs of any kind this is a do not miss book.

Was this review helpful?

Just Gus by McCall Hoyle is about Gus, a Great Pyrenees, who guards sheep & chickens on the farm. He lives with Esperanza, Cloe, Stella & Nando. Gus does the important work of keeping everyone safe who lives with him. One night, Nando goes after a bear, and Gus has to follow. When Gus gets hurt, he doesn’t know what he will do without protecting the farm. Luckily, Cloe’s cousin Diego and his dad have come to visit. Diego has social anxiety and Gus can tell he gets nervous a lot. While he is in recovery, Gus and Diego become closer and closer. To keep Gus away from the field and protecting the sheep while he recovers, Diego takes Gus home. Gus learns that having a boy of his own is just what he needed. This is a sweet story about the power of getting help and knowing what you need when it comes to anxiety. The bond between Gus and Diego is powerful and Diego grows and overcomes a lot with Gus’s help.

If you loved Stella, this is a must read! I am really hoping there will be another book about Nando soon! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance copy.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately this book wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be. I absolutely adored Stella and this being a sort of continuation of that book I was really excited but this book just didn't have the same warmth that Stella did. I didn't like Gus nearly as much and maybe that is just me. I just really wanted to enjoy this as much but sadly I didn't.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: