Cover Image: I Hope You're Listening

I Hope You're Listening

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When she was just 7-years old, Dee Skinner's best friend, Sibby, was kidnapped as the two girls were playing in the woods adjacent to their houses. Dee witnessed the incident, but as a 7-year old, was unable to help Sibby. This fact has haunted her every day since. Sibby has never been found.

As a teen, Dee has distanced herself from her peers. Her one good friend, Burke, has remained steadfastly by her side, even though she's a bit prickly with everyone else. Burke is also Dee's secret keeper. He's the only person who knows that Dee is the creator and host of a hugely popular podcast, <i>Radio Silent</i>, that  discusses and investigates missing persons cases from around the country.

Dee feels like the podcast helps to relieve some of her guilt over not being taken while Sibby was. Dee hosts the podcast completely anonymously, using the name, The Seeker. Her many fans and listeners actively investigate the cases discussed on the show. Dubbed as the LDA, Laptop Detective Agency, they have actually found people!

Two things happen in close succession in Dee's life though, that soon threaten her hold on her anonymity. An attractive girl moves into the house directly across the street and a little girl, living in Dee's former house, has gone missing. Dee wants to do whatever she can to help find the missing girl, Layla, whose disappearance seems too much of a coincidence. Could it possibly be related to Sibby's disappearance? Even 10-years later?

As Dee and the girl across the street, Sarah, grow ever closer, Dee is able to open up to her in a way she has been unable to before. Even though it makes her vulnerable, it also gives her strength, because now she has someone on her side.

Dee has always felt like the people in town judged her after Sibby's disappearance; like they felt she could have done something to help. Since Sarah just moved to town, she doesn't have any preconceived notions of who Dee is, which helps Dee to be able to connect with her more naturally.

After Dee opens up to Sarah, the two girls begin to investigate Layla's disappearance together and go on one heck of an adventure doing so! Reading Dee and Layla's relationship evolve was one of my favorite aspects of this story. I loved how Dee could finally let her guard down and be honest about herself with someone else. I think it means so much to find that one person you can truly be yourself around, especially when you have been hiding a bit, like Dee was.

In addition to the evolution of the girl's relationship, which if you are wondering, is romantic, I also enjoyed the overall evolution of the story. How Ryan went out revealing the situation with Dee and Sibby; everything that happened leading up to the kidnapping and shortly thereafter. I also very much enjoyed, unsurprisingly, the podcast element. Listening to the audiobook, you really get a feel for what <i>Radio Silent</i> actually would have sounded like. That was quite compelling.

It got pretty crazy towards the end, but by then, I was committed to these characters and this story. A lot of it was great, wild and fun, but there were a couple of plot points at the very end that just seemed to be wrapped up a little too conveniently for my tastes. Thusly, my overall enjoyment suffered just a wee bit; but seriously, just a tiny bit. Regardless, I definitely recommend this for fans of YA Mysteries, missing person, or cold case tropes, and of course, people who love a podcasting element to their Mystery/Thrillers.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Albert Whitman & Company, for providing me a copy to read and review. I had a lot of fun with it and look forward to reading more from Tom Ryan!
Was this review helpful?
I Hope You’re Listening is a contemporary sapphic YA mystery. This isn’t my typical choice of genre, and that’s made it a bit harder to review for me than I thought it would. It was certainly easy to keep reading and had an unexpected reveal, but I’m not sure I followed it all the way there. In other words, I prefer the solution to be something I’d be able to reasonable guess and I didn’t feel like that was the case here. But it’s possible that I missed some clues.

As for the positives, the flashbacks were well-implemented, and Dee felt realistic as a narrator who was a teen with trauma in her past. The setting of a small town haunted by tragedy (and now hounded by media journalists) was immersive. I’m glad Dee’s parents weren’t absent, and the romance was cute if (as is always my complaint) a bit rushed. There was one side character Burke who Dee had a complex relationship with and I actually wished he got more page time. All in all, I Hope You’re Listening delivered well on what it was offering, it simply didn’t impress me beyond that.
Was this review helpful?
I usually love books that incorporate podcasts into their plots and while I felt that “I Hope You’re Listening” took advantage of that, it also felt like it could have been better executed. That being said this was a fun read for fellow crime junkies though it did take a bit to really catch my attention.
Was this review helpful?
This books seems great, but unfortunately it's a bit too long to be considered as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, which is what I requested the arc for.
Was this review helpful?
The mystery didnt really do it for me. I felt the writing was more geared almost toward middle grade. This just did not tickle my fancy
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

OH MY GOODNESS!! I loved this book! I surprisingly haven't read many books about podcasts, despite being a big fan of both (Sadie by Courtney Summers being the only one that comes to mind off the top of my head. If you liked that one, I think you'll really enjoy this one, as well, BTW!). I'm also a big true crime guy, so this book had A LOT of potential to either go really right or really wrong for me. Good news, it smashed it out of the park! I'm not surprised, as I read Tom Ryan's previous novel, Keep This to Yourself, and really enjoyed my time with that one as well. Really excited to see what this author does in the future!
Was this review helpful?
This book is one where I feel like if you took away all the excess writing and plot points, it would be good at its bones. The premise felt familiar with the radio and a kidnapping case where two people go in the woods/one comes out. The characters didn't feel very well developed, even counting the ending that we all knew was coming. When we first heard of the kidnapping, I was fine with how little the victims were developed because I thought we'd get a better picture as we moved through the book. But, the ending just felt abrupt and very forgettable. Lastly, I thought that the book struggled with an age group they were targeting. At its core I almost felt like it could have gone to a younger age group, but the book was sprinkled with random drug use and cursing.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley & Aw Teen for providing me with a copy of I Hope You're Listening in exchange for an honest review!

Absolutely loving the number of thrillers that include a podcast element! I Hope You're Listening is a perfectly fine story, but it really didn't do much for me -- the story was a bit whatever & one of the conclusions was a bit ridiculous.
Was this review helpful?
🔒 BOOK REVIEW 🔒

Synopsis: The anonymous host of a true-crime podcast is faced with a new case that could uncover secrets from her past. In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia 'Dee' Skinner is known as the girl who wasn't taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn't enough. Sibby was never seen again. At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee's the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby's disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee's about to find out what's really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.

Review: This book definitely intrigued me more than I expected! I really enjoyed the premise and liked that a lot of detail went into the characters and the setting. It was medium to fast paced and didn’t drag out at all. Although it wasn’t explicitly stated what the MC’s sexuality is, there is a same-sex romance in the book. This brought a another side to the story outside of the mystery and suspense, and I loved it! Would happily read a sequel that explores the relationship further. There’s many messages of activism in here that I really appreciated as well, slut-shaming, minorities being victims of crime, and how women are more likely to be victims of abduction than men. Whilst I always feel a bit cringe when men write about female main characters, I can definitely appreciate that it’s coming from an LGBTQIAP+ own voices perspective. This wasn’t mentioned in the synopsis so it was also lovely to read during pride month 🏳️‍🌈

My sincerest thanks to @tomryanauthor and @albertwhitman for a copy of this book in exchange for my review. This author is definitely now on my radar! 

4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Was this review helpful?
A good YA mystery. I love the premise of this book and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The characters were fantastic
Was this review helpful?
I am SO into YA mysteries right now and really enjoyed I Hope Your Listening. It had the YA mystery vibe I love. We have  a great female lead character in Dee, a teenager who can't forget about the unsolved case of her missing childhood best friend  Sibby who was kidnapped while they played together. Dee starts an anonymous  true crime podcast focused on finding missing people as a way to cope. When another girl goes missing, Sibby's case is back in the news and Dee is pushed in the spotlight again and motivated to find out what happened to her missing friend. 

Loved seeing an LGTBQ+ lead character (Dee) and her relationship with Sarah and how it progressed throughout the book. 

This is a character-driven book and I loved how the reader got to know the characters alongside the progression of the mystery at hand. The characters had real growth that felt true to and relatable to their ages. The mix of the cold case with the present day case was really well done and kept me turning the pages quickly to find out what happened. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to fans of YA mysteries!

Thank you to Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for the gifted e-copy for review.
Was this review helpful?
This book, while somewhat predictable, was so good! I love a good, strong female lead. The conflicts between characters could have been developed a little more and given a little more drama. Overall, a good read but maybe more suited for middle grades.
Was this review helpful?
I read Tom Ryan’s book Keep This To Yourself a couple years ago and loved it, so I was excited to read another by him. I enjoyed this one though not quite as much as KTTY. I Hope You’re Listening is a YA mystery novel. The main character, Dee, was present when her best friend was kidnapped and she was left behind (they were seven). Ten years later, Dee has a secret podcast where she tries to gather people to help solve similar crimes. She disguises her voice though, and only her friend, Burke, is aware.

When a young girl goes missing from Dee’s old house, the subject of Sibby (Dee’s childhood friend) starts coming up more often and now Dee is thrust into a mystery of whether the two are connected, and whether or not they are, is Sibby still alive? It was an intriguing read; one that I read really quick. I loved Dee’s parents and her girlfriend, Sarah, though I wish we had gotten a bit more from Sarah at the end of the book. Dee does make some dumb decisions in her search for the truth, but I felt like I could give her some leeway since Sibby was kidnapped right in front of her and even with her podcast, this is the first time she really puts herself into the actual investigation. If you like YA mysteries, I would recommend Tom Ryan.
Was this review helpful?
This is a new genre for me, I’ve only read a small handful of mystery/thrillers at this point but with this book also being shelved as young adult and LGBTQA+, I figured it was a solid choice for me to try to branch out with. Considering my previous experience with the genre included such things as the wildly popular and very dark Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and things like the Charlotte Holmes series, I still wasn’t sure what I actually thought of the genre. I think after reading this I’m closer to saying that I think I might be able to like mystery/crime books. At any rate, I at least liked this one, it had a lot going for it.
I Hope You’re Listening is about Dee Skinner, high school, senior and anonymous host of the hit true-crime podcast Radio Silent dedicated to sharing the stories and helping shed light on missing person cases with the help of her listeners. The one case she’s never talked about on Radio Silent is the reason why she started it in the first place: the abduction of her best friend Sybie when they were kids. Dee blames herself for not being able to do more to stop Sybie from being kidnapped back then so she does what she can to help others. Sybie’s disappearance has never been solved and Dee has done her best to try to move on and keep her podcast a secret but when another girl goes missing from the same street ten years later, Dee may not be able to ignore the need to investigate the links between the two cases. With the help of the girl who just moved in across the street, Dee finally tackles her town’s biggest unsolved mystery: what happened to Sybie all those years ago?
I found this book incredibly addicting and compelling. I loved the angle with the podcast and the laptop Detective Agency that the listeners formed. That element was powerful. I was also just very much on the edge of my seat at the various twists and turns and desperately curious about how the various mysteries would resolve and just so wary and hopeful and gosh the adrenaline was really pumping in a few places.
One of the things I really loved about the book though was Dee and Sarah’s relationship. Given how complicated and difficult so much else was it was so great that Dee had one thing that was reassuring and lovely and they were just so sweet. And like the fact that Dee’s queerness was never in question was just so great. It was just a basic fact to her and that was so nice to see.
So yes, because I really enjoyed myself with this one, I think I may yet try again with more thrillers/mysteries in the future, or if nothing else, I plan to give Tom Ryan another try in the future. I enjoyed this one a lot!
Was this review helpful?
I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan is a book I've had on my TBR for a while, and it took me a while to feel like I was ready to read this. Once I got started, I found myself really drawn into the plot and read it almost continuously until I finished.

This book tells the story of Dee, a teenage girl whose best friend was abducted when they were young. As a means of coping with this loss and her feelings about not being able to do anything about her missing friend, Dee starts a podcast about missing persons that encourages listeners to help solve the crimes. 

I loved the podcast segments featured in the book and thought that was a really interesting component to have as part of the storyline. I also really liked the mystery within this story and I found myself wondering what had happened to Dee's friend all those years ago and whether it was connected to the case in the present. This book really picked up for me around 60%, and I was surprised at the conclusion. I didn't figure out the mystery before the characters in the story did which is always a nice way to wrap up a book!

Overall, I felt this was a fantastic read and I'm sorry that I waited so long to get to it! I would highly recommend this one for fans of mysteries and YA titles.

I received an e-copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley which did not affect the contents of my voluntary review. All opinions are honest and my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book was just amazing! I absolutely adore Tom Ryan and will buy anything he writes because he never disappoints. Full of twists and turns, I Hope You're Listening has stuck with me and still has me thinking about missing children, misdirection, and how we deal with trauma.
Was this review helpful?
This book has a great hook. The start is great and I couldn’t put it down at first. I think what really lost me is how unrealistic the characters felt to me. Dee is 17, and yet this seems told more through the eyes of an adult. A particularly sophisticated, skilled adult.  It’s more off putting than I would have thought. The story was not bad and the writing is good as well. I just don’t think it’s my style. I’d recommend this book to younger audiences more than any others. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book, I truly apologize how delayed this has been.
Was this review helpful?
Dee was the girl who wasn't taken after witnessing her best friend's abduction. She then starts a true crime podcast to help solve unsolved cases. Reading "I Hope You're Listening" feels like you are on a Ferris wheel. I absolutely loved the representation in this book. We have a LGBTQ main character and minority characters and the disparity in their investigations. 

I do feel like this book wasn't as climatic as I wanted it to be and overall fell a little flat in pacing. At times, I felt like this was two different books. But I enjoyed it nonetheless and would recommend it to fans of true crime podcasts. 


** Thank you NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. **
Was this review helpful?
I think there is a lot of potential in this book, and capitalizing on the true crime podcast wave is a really smart idea. Ultimately I just feel like there's so much going on, and the actual solution seems so overworked. Dee makes a giant leap that doesn't make any sense and could have been reworked with an easy fix. It's not a bad book by any stretch, fast paced, queer rep, stay at home dad, but the pieces don't fit together as well as they should.
Was this review helpful?
Nobody knows who the Seeker, true crime podcast Radio Silent’s mysterious host, is. And if Dee Skinner has it her way, no one ever will. The Seeker does what Dee never could. The Seeker operates Radio Silent, a podcast, helps a community of online Laptop Detectives find missing persons, closes cases. Dee though, Dee could only tell the police everything she remembered and watch as the years went by. As a decade passed since her best friend, Sibby, was taken from the woods leaving Dee the only witness. When another little girl goes missing in the same area, a little girl who lives in Dee’s old house, Dee will have to decide how far she is willing to go for answers. How far she is willing to go and, indeed, if she can even bring herself to look.

Tom Ryan’s I Hope You’re Listening is a book that I find myself having a hard time finding my feelings on. It feels, in many ways, like a selection of sub-plots that could not decide on a main idea and so made due. It feels like the core of the work is not properly there for everything to be built around, or like there is nothing to build off of. Which is a shame because there is a lot of potential here.

Dee having essentially both hidden herself away to avoid dealing with Sibby’s kidnapping while also having become the Seeker to try and keep other people from having to deal with those same feelings is something I really like the idea of. She feels isolated from her peers because she is the girl who got left when Sibby was taken, the only witness who could not tell anyone anything useful, so she turned to the internet and the anonymity it offers to become someone who could help. And she guards her secret identity as the Seeker as seriously as she can, and that is something I wish more had been done with. Early on a hot shot reporter, Quinlee Ellacott, emails the Seeker threatening to unmask them and suggesting that they just make this easy on themselves and give her an exclusive interview revealing their identity to the world. Said hot shot reporter shows up in Dee’s home town to cover the case of the missing little girl and she antagonizes Dee and her family because of the connection to Sibby’s disappearance a decade earlier. I would have loved to have seen more done with that, something to give a more solid on page threat to Dee’s anonymity as the Seeker and given the hot shot reporter more of a place in the story as a sort of secondary “threat” while Dee tried to figure out what she was going to do. Something to put more on page pressure on Dee to keep her from using Radio Silent to help with the current missing child case rather than her just not wanting to cover it because it feels too close to her.

I would have liked to see more build up in the relationship between Dee and Sarah, the new girl at school. They meet a few times and it is cute, but it does not feel like there is a relationship there until after they have already wound up together. After they are together I like the couple, but I want to see more of what makes the couple, more of what makes Dee trust Sarah and why she wants to open up to her. It almost feels like the best friend character, Burke, and Sarah could have been combined. The story sort of just replaces Burke with Sarah after a certain point, which leaves Dee feeling very isolated even as she opens up. It is, again, a place where more would have been better.

Which, really, is my issue across the board on I Hope You’re Listening, Ryan had several ideas that could have been quite good but it feels like he did not give any of them enough support material to entirely work. This is a book I enjoyed, but it also winds up being a book that felt oddly sectioned out. There is the plot of the missing girl and the plot of Sibby having been missing and the plot of the two missing women that Dee is covering on Radio Silent and the plot of Dee and Sarah getting together and then more minor things like Quinlee Ellacott digging for a scoop and generally antagonizing everyone she comes across. None of it feels like it quite fits together though. I found myself looking for how things tied together and how each case tied together and largely just not finding it. Which is a shame, I liked Ryan’s writing and enjoyed the characters. I wanted the more that it felt like I Hope You’re Listening needed because I was enjoying the book and felt like it could have been taken from enjoyable but not necessarily good to enjoyable and pretty great.

Ultimately, I enjoyed I Hope You’re Listening. I liked the characters and would happily read more featuring them, possibly even a series focused on the various cases brought up by Radio Silent. I would almost definitely read another book written by Tom Ryan. But he really needed to have taken the space to develop things more thoroughly and he needed to have tightened his focus and tied things together better. So, at the end of the day I give I Hope You’re Listening a three out of five.
Was this review helpful?