Just Gus

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Pub Date Apr 04 2023 | Archive Date Apr 18 2023

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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

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ISBN 9781639930937
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 26 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is a wonderful book. Gus and Diego's story is a heartwarming read that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. This is a book you don't want to miss. I loved it and highly recommend this book to anyone who loves animals.
I received a complimentary copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Gus was a Great Pyrenees and was considered a working dog. His main job was to take care of livestock, primarily sheep from coyotes and foxes.. Other than a working dog, Gus was a family pet and an emotional support animal. One day, Gus met a boy named Diego and the big dog made him feel less anxious.
Every dog needs a boy.
Often dogs and boys experience their first best friends, because of s dog.. McCall Hoyles tells that story of love and companionship and he tells it well.
The author wrote this book for Middle Grade readers;however, I would recommend the book for an age reader. Most importantly, ther book would be a perfect addition to a home or school library.
Thank you McCall Hoyle, Vivienne To Illustrator, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and NetGalley for the opportunity of reading this novel.

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This is the sweetest story about a boy and a dog who need each other.

I love the way McCall Hoyle tells the story from the dog’s perspective. Gus is a livestock guardian dog with a big heart. He is injured protecting the sheep and goes to stay with Diego and his dad while recovering. Diego isn’t sure what he thinks of Gus at first but quickly bonds with him and finds the strength to face his social anxiety when Gus is nearby.

I highly recommend this happy, feel good story for dog lovers and anyone who wants to understand dogs better.

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#BookRevew: JUST GUS by McCall Hoyle

Have you read Stella? I did and I was so excited to see a new book by the author. Just Gus is about Gus, a Great Pyrenees, who looks after the sheep & chickens on Esperanza’s farm. Gus loves his job and was always in earnest to do well. It was also nice to revisit Esperanza, Chloe and Stella in this book.

I enjoyed reading Gus’ perspective. It was cute how the author wrote Gus’ feelings and thoughts. The plot was good and I liked the pace. I appreciate that the book explored Diego’s anxiety and how to secure an emotional assistance dog. Gus is a large dog but very gentle. He calms Diego.I liked how he says that Diego is his boy.

The book is so heartwarming. The illustrations are adorable, especially with Gus and the sheep. I loved Stella a lot and I think Gus' story is a good one too. I look forward to more books by this author.

Rating: 4 ⭐
Pub date: 04 Apr 2023

Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and #netgalley for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I have a special place in my heart for books with dogs and how they help others. My sweet dog does that for me, so I was excited to read this. I know from reading reviews of this author's other books that it would be a wonderful story and it was. I was touched by Diego and Gus's sweet relationship and the author does a perfect job of showing this. I also enjoyed the illustrations, they added the perfect touch to the story.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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Gus has always been "Just Gus". He's in charge of keeping an eye on the sheep, but he's capable of so much more. After an encounter with a bear, Gus leaves the farm with Diego to relax and recover at the beach. While he's there, Gus helps Diego find courage within himself and start to overcome the anxiety he's been battling for so long.

A neighbor reports Gus for supposedly biting him, so Diego is sent back to the farm to live. Gus refuses to give up on his boy. How can he let the humans know that they need to be together?

Just like with Stella, readers will love Gus from the very first page. They will cheer as he becomes more than "Just Gus" and finds out that he's loved fiercely for the first time by his very own boy.

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Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Just Gus is a companion book to the author’s previous book, Stella. Gus is a rescue Great Pyrenees who has been retrained as a livestock guardian dog. When Chloe’s (Stella’s human) cousin, Diego, comes to visit, he is very quiet and shy. Gus can smell the anxiety and sadness on Diego, but his first priority are his sheep. One night, a bear comes into the pasture and Gus does what’s in his DNA – protect his sheep. Gus is gravely injured and when he returns from the veterinary hospital, all he wants is to return to his sheep. Diego seems to be the only one who can get through to Gus – probably because they are both a little broke. Diego and his father agree to bring Gus down to North Carolina to get him away from the sheep and allow him to heal properly. Gus helps Diego with his social anxiety and Diego becomes “his boy.”
I truly love dog books and this one did not disappoint. Gus’ life has been a roller coaster of good events after bad ones. This is a great story about belonging. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
#JustGus #NetGalley

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Warning ! Have a full box of Kleenex ready when you read this one!* (And no, not because the dog dies, because he doesn’t!)
Beautiful middle-grade story about a rescue dog who is all about protecting sheep, Then, he and a very anxious little boy meet, and bond, and then very tough decisions must be made…
I’m not a big fan of books written from the viewpoints of animals, but “Just Gus” and the author’s previous novel “Stella”, are definite exceptions. These are wonderful, touching books, that will grab the interest of anyone who loves dogs!
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.*

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Oh, my goodness! This book is great! I couldn't help but fall in love with how it was narrated from sweet Gus' perspective. It's an absolute gem that holds within its pages the power to assist readers who grapple with anxiety. By witnessing Diego's brave journey in conquering his fears and worries, it offers a potential gift of comfort and guidance.

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Oh I didn’t think I would enjoy another dog book as much as I did with Stella but McCall Hoyle has done it again!
Readers will fall in love with Gus & Diego. Just Gus has so many characters that change through the act of kindness. Gus needs Diego and Diego needs Gus.
Highly recommend to any student that loves a good story told through the eyes of a dog.

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