Stella by McCall Hoyle {Book Review}

: Stella

Author: McCall Hoyle

Age: Middle Grade

Genres: Contemporary

Expected Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Source: ARC

Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | Audible 

Even dogs deserve a second chance.

Ever since she was a puppy, Stella was trained to use her powerful beagle nose to sniff out dangerous chemicals and help her handler keep people safe. But during a routine security inspection, Stella misses the scent of an explosive. The sound of the blast is loud and scary. Unable to go back to work because of her anxiety, Stella is retired as a working dog.

When a young girl named Cloe wants to adopt Stella, the beagle knows this is her last chance to prove her worth. But how? When Stella smells a strange chemical inside Cloe’s body, a scent that surges just before the girl has a seizure, Stella’s nose makes the connection. But how can Stella warn her new family without them thinking she’s having an anxiety attack? How can she convince others that she can be a new kind of service dog and hopefully save Cloe’s life?

Told from Stella’s perspective, this story is about a special dog who must find the courage to overcome her fears in order to help save a young girl with epilepsy.

My Rating: 

My Thoughts:
A wholesome story following the perspective of a god named Stella. How much sweeter can you get? I normally don't read stories following animals as main characters (unless they are mythical creatures), but I am so glad I read this. This book warmed my heart as I got to see how Stella experienced life and how she grew in her relationship with Cloe. 

Be prepared for tears, laughter and smiles galore. The perfect chapter book to read with younger ones, especially if you have children or younger siblings. I would definitely recommend this book.

Advanced Praise:
Dog training, trauma recovery, and just enough urgency to keep it moving: a quiet pleasure.” -Kirkus

This tender novel from a dog’s perspective will help readers understand the importance of animals in their lives. This empathetic read is also full of important themes and lessons for young readers—bravery, how to overcome fears, and that mistakes don’t have to define us. A heartfelt dog story that readers young and old will enjoy.” -School Library Journal

Endearing. Tender exploration of human-animal bonding. The book’s suspenseful final third focuses on Cloe’s interactions with bullies, forcing Stella to relive her own traumatic memories, and to act brave despite them. This is a circular but satisfying means for Stella to resolve her fears. Stella realizes that it is okay to have made mistakes in the past, and that love doesn’t require working for approval...In the memorable novel Stella, a dog looks to heal—and find a home.” -Foreword Reviews

About the Author:
McCall Hoyle lives in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her husband,  children, and an odd assortment of pets. She is a middle school teacher and librarian. When she’s not reading, writing, or teaching, she’s probably playing with or training one of many dogs. You can learn more about her at

For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at

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