Cover Image: I Hope You're Listening

I Hope You're Listening

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Member Reviews

I Hope You're Listening is a fantastic read, Romance, mystery and missing persons.... what more could you want from a YA novel? It's inclusive, thrilling and has strong characters with pasts that keep you wanting to know more and keep turning the pages to read more.
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The premise was promising, but yeah this didn't really work for me.
Almost all of my issues stem from the romance
1. They go from barely knowing each other to girlfriends like a snap of your fingers.
2. Given the premise and that the main character hosts this famous podcast that the other girl does listen to, it feels like there's an uncomfortable power imbalance there that is never discussed or acknowledged whatsoever.
So yeah, not really a fan of this book.
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***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING by Tom Ryan in exchange for my honest review.***

Oh Tom Ryan, I’m falling in book-love with you. I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING is even better than Ryan’s last year gem KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF. I’m a sucker for missing person stories, so I knew I had to preorder.  Billed as a cross between SADIE and TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET, I hoped the hype didn’t set me up for disappointment.  Reading I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING is the opposite of disappointing.

I fell in love with seven-year-old Delia and her best friend Sibby. Ryan expertly captured Dee’s voice in a way that made me feel like a kid was telling me her story. Often, I can tell the gender of a writer by the representation of girls and women characters. Ryan’s female characters are as authentic as women writers’ in a way I haven’t read since adult literary fiction writer Chris Bohjalian.

I don’t want to give away any plot points for fear of spoiling a single word of  I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING. Delia’s podcast episodes felt as real as Sadie’s. I hope publishers find a spectacular narrator to do the audiobook.

Rush right out and preorder or order  I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING. Then schedule a day to read without interruption.
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5 stars 

I love YA, and I live for a great mystery or thriller, but I have been consistently disappointed when the two converge... until now! 

Dee has a fascinating backstory, and while the events of her past very much shape her current choices and traumas, she also demonstrates strength and resiliency that make her a riveting character and a positive model. When the novel begins, readers learn that Dee and Sibby, her childhood best friend, experienced a horrific event ten years earlier: Sibby's kidnapping and subsequent status as a missing person. Dee is understandably devastated by her perceived powerlessness, ongoing guilt, and crushing loss of her best friend. Remarkably, Dee takes action by building a well-known podcast (that is kind of a mashup of several podcasts on the Exactly Right network but not exactly) and using this work to hide herself and to exert some form of control and empowerment over other missing persons cases. At the same time, Dee is a typical high schooler who is also developing a  romance with her neighbor and working through some drama with her friends. She is both a realistic and exceptional character, and this makes her fun to read. 

Other aspects of this novel that work well include but are not limited to LGBTQ+ representation (a character living through a really wild experience who just happens to be gay and whose identity affords folks the opportunity to be human or close minded), a tightly constructed plot that is less predictable than really all of the other YA thrillers/mysteries I've read in recent years, and a lot of really cool angles (which I won't list here because I hate spoilers) that work together instead of jump a bunch of sharks. 

This is a great read, especially for folks who dig a solid YA novel and a good mystery/thriller. I loved the podcast angle, too, by the way. I'll be recommending this one to students, colleagues, and friends and family; it fills a lot of gaps in the genre and is just a fun ride overall.
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