MIDDLE GRADE ANIMAL FICTION : Stella by McCall Hoyle

54655853. sy475
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
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.
 
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 mccallhoyle.com.

For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at chansen@shadowmountain.com.
 
 
 
REVIEW
 
Stella, a retired bomb-sniffing beagle, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.  After an explosion leaves Stella traumatized and without a handler, it appears she won't be able to find a new home.  But when a dog trainer friend of her former handler's brings her home and Stella starts training with a young girl named Cloe, it seems she may have finally found a home.  But she continues to miss her handler and struggle with fears.  As she and Cloe get closer though slowly healing comes.  Will it be enough to help restore Stella's confidence when everything goes wrong?  
 
The author chose to tell this story from Stella's point of view.  Climbing into an animal's head can be tricky, but Hoyle does a great job of helping the reader feel Stella's anxiety and sense of loss.  Stella's confusion over strange human behavior adds a touch of humor to this tender story of love and healing.  Stella is a very winning character and her developing relationship with Cloe is sweet.  Her training as a bomb-sniffing dog comes in handy as she uses it to help herself and Cloe.  Cloe's epilepsy creates a unique scent that Stella picks up on and recognizes as being a problem.  Now if she could get the humans to listen to her.  
 
Hoyle has created a really winning, sweet story about a dog and her girl and overcoming trauma and fear for love.  I found this to be a delightful story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Young readers who enjoy dog stories are bound to find much to like about this one. 

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