Cover Image: I Hope You're Listening

I Hope You're Listening

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Member Reviews

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.
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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.
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I loved this story so much! This is easily one of the best YA mysteries I have read this year.

Where do I even begin? Do I talk about the gripping way the author constructs multiple missing cases in parallel? Or do I talk about what an amazing protagonist Dee is? How about the adorable romance between Dee and Sarah? There are just too many reasons to mention!

The plot is the standout of the story. There is a LOT happening as the author introduces multiple missing cases of Sibby, Layla, and Vanessa. He beautifully flashbacks between the past and present, and also changes the style to progress Vanessa’s case through the podcasts. Okay, there are a few minor things in the story that I didn’t grasp, like how Sarah finds out the secret, or what happens to Burke and Dee in the end. But, the main plot is so engrossing that I did not mind this.

Also, Dee is amazing in the lead. I loved the way she investigates Sibby’s disappearance while growing up with the secret of her podcast. Moreover, I also loved her romance with Sarah. I love the moments when they go to the Winter Carnival dance. I also adored the relationship Dee has with her parents. Similarly, the supporting characters are memorable too. Even if they only appear for a short time, Burke, Brianna, Quinlee, Jonathan, Terry, and everyone else add so well to the plot. Brianna and Quinlee are horrible characters that you despise.

Overall, this was an unforgettable read and I finished it in one sitting because I could not put it down. I love this author and want to read all his books!
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I really wanted to like this book but unfortunately I could not get into it. I do not think this was the one for me. The premise was super interesting, but towards the end to me it just fell apart.
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I would Highly Recommend this book to anyone who likes a good thriller or mystery. It was a captivating read. 4/5 stars because it was a bit hard to get into, but once you do it is just amazing. 
Thank you to NetGalley and Albert Whitman & Company for giving me an ARC
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This was just okay. Nothing new going on in this book that would have me recommending it to people. I feel like there are far great YA thrillers to pick up before this one. However, for those that do enjoy YA thrillers and can’t find something to read, you may enjoy this one.
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i definitely didn't get around to reading this as soon as i hoped i would, but i ended up loving this so much more than i was expecting! i have a hit/miss relationship with thriller/mystery books, and this one took me by surprise (in a good way!). 

it took me until about the 30% mark to get invested in the story, but by then i was absolutely hooked on the mystery and i read the rest in one sitting! the mystery was written in such a way that clues were laid in front of us with just enough space between them that the major twist still managed to surprise me, and it felt like i was solving the case along with Dee. 

i thought the friends to lovers romance w/ Sarah was very cute, and i enjoyed Burke as a side character as well! the podcast element was really cool, and it would be interesting to hear that in an audiobook. 

if you're looking for a fun read with wintery vibes - i'd definitely recommend this one!
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I Enjoyed this book a lot, but it also felt like there was something missing. I dont usually say this, but I feel like the book could have benefited from being a bit longer.

That being said, I wanted to read more. It was a great story and great writing. I dont read many mysteries and this book had a bunch thrown in which I actually found really fun to read.

I thought it came together in a great climax as well.
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2.5 rounded up

Thank you Albert Whitman & Company and Netgalley for providing me with a ARC in exchange for a honest review 

TW/CW: Kidnapping, confinement, minor drug use

Living in a small town in USA, where everyone knows everyone's business, 17 year old Dee Skinner is known as the 'girl who didn't get taken'. At at age seven, her best friend Libby was abducted when the two of them were playing alone in the forest. 
Even now, ten years after the incident, Dee is overtaken by guilt - guilt for not being able to save Sibby when it happened but also guilt for not remembering enough details for the police to find her friend.
Feeling like everyone has been able to move on except her Dee channels her guilt into Radio Silent - a successful, true crime podcast where she takes on the anonymous part of The Seeker to cover missing persons cases across USA, cases that sometimes gets solved thanks to her listeners and the platform Radio Silent provides.
Only her best friend Burke knows that she is voice behind the Seeker, and Dee plans to keep it like that. She just wants to have the most normal life possible, and perhaps a chance to get closer to the intriguing girl thar moved in next door. 

However, when a 11 year old girl, a girl who lives in Dee's old house, gets kidnapped everything is dragged back to the surface.
Is there a connection between this kidnapping and Sibby's? And exactly how much is Dee willing to risk to finally get some answers?

The narration in this YA mystery thriller shifts between first person narration when dealing with the present day, a third person narration in the flashbacks of the abduction, as well as transcripts of episodes of the Radio Silent podcast. As a person who loves to geek out about narratology (I know how pretentious that might sound, but bear with me - I'm a masters student in comparative literature, I wouldn't have made it this far without turning a little pretentious) I really appreciated that structure of story telling.

However, being "inside Dee's head" for most of the novel resulted in that a lot of the supporting characters felt a bit flat to me. I would've loved to get to know her stay at home father, Sibby's little sister Greta who grew up in the shadow of a sister she barely remembers, former childhood friend now high school Queen Bee Brianna etc, but unfortunately I felt like I didn't get the chance to.
Even worse, I felt something similar regarding both Dee's best friend Burke and her love interest Sarah, and sometimes even Dee herself.

Seeing as one of the reasons I love YA-novels is because of their tendency to focus on the individual (rather than social structures/communities) I can't help to feel a bit cheated whenever I finish a YA-book feeling like I haven't got to know the protagonist at all. 

It's a shame because the book had lots of aspects I enjoyed - the effortless way Dee was allowed to be queer without having to come out, the representation of stay-at-home dads and the ever present theme of how much damage sensationalized news stories can do, to name a few. 
Unfortunately that wasn't enough, since I often feel like a story falls flat for me if the characters have done so. 

I would still recommend this book to anyone who prefers action driven stories, since the book really picked up the pase in it's later half. 
I actually found myself reading with a raised heartbeat and I just wish that the conclusion of the book had been as exhilarating as the events leading up to it.
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What first caught my attention was the cover. I Hope You're Listening was an enjoyable book with a good mystery inside and likable characters. Small towns with mysteries are always a promising premise. Incorporating podcasts in added an extra layer.
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I Hope You're Listening 
by Tom Ryan
Nancy Drew you have some competition. Okay this is not just your regular mystery story, it's a story of redemption, acceptance, and realization. Young Dee has faced a problem all her life. Her best friend was kidnapped right before her eyes. She was left tied up, and alone while the kidnappers left with Sibbe. Now at 17 she has reached out using the internet to solve other missing cases. Having learned at that early age she is not doing this for notoriety or even notice. She wants to help, she wants to bring people home,nothing more. This LGBTQ book shows that humanity is not the labels we place on each other, but how we stand up for one another when the chips are down. I have a great idea, and a concept that needs to be talked about. What can we do to help others?
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Podcasts mysteries are trendy now and this is a pretty good take. I liked the premise of an unsolved crime being linked with a current one, and the idea of a teenage girl being behind a successful podcast. The first half takes a while to get going but the second half is twisty and action-packed. The resolutions to both crimes are pretty satisfying to me. 

What I struggled with is the main character, Dee, not being very sympathetic and fully convincing. Though I understand she is avoiding remembering what happened to her because of her trauma, it doesn't excuse the way she treated her best friend, Burke. And while I was happy to see queer representation in teenage relationships, I thought it was strange that she would trust a random person over her own best friend when it came to investigating the case. Especially when she knew it was his family at stake. I also wish the podcast is actually linked to the cases, instead of having a separate storyline about it. Overall, an enjoyable mystery but not as amazing as I had hoped.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I am a huge fan of the book“Sadie” and after reading the summary of this book I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read it.  Of course, I knew my expectations were almost impossible to fulfil. Nonetheless, I found I Hope You're Listening to be a fantastic YA thriller. It is a fast paced, tense mystery novel that follows seventeen year old Delia or Dee. Ten years ago Dee witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. Unfortunately, Sibby was never found.

In response to her best friend’s abduction, Dee now does a podcast that helps find missing people. She is known as The Seeker on the podcast in order to remain anonymous. However, another little girl goes missing in the town and it seems the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance. Risking her anonymity and so much more Dee decides to get answers by investigating the case.

Wow! What a wonderfully, suspenseful mystery! This is a great read for mystery and true crime lovers (and those of us addicted to podcasts). There is so much more to unpack in this novel than just the missing girl. It takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride. I also loved that there is also some great representation in the book between minorities (particularly the mention that their cases of missing people go under reported and under searched), and LGBTQ rep. Overall, I think this book has a little bit of everything that one could look for in a well written story. So I definitely recommend checking this one out!
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC copy of 'I Hope You're Listening'!!
Wow wow wow!!! This book was amazing! Normally, YA thrillers are either too cheesy, don't have a strong plot, or strong characters. This book had it all, interesting characters, and a great plot. The last half of this book was so great I couldn't put it down. I read it all in one sitting.  This is my first time reading a book from Tom Ryan and I will definitely be checking out his other work.
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Seven year old Dee is playing hide and seek with her friend in the woods when Sibby is taken. Ten years later we find Dee still struggling with what happened that day, blaming herself and trying to help other missing people through her anonymous podcast 'Radio Silent'. Another abduction rocks the small town and Dee finds herself at the centre of a media storm once again. Can she work past her issues to help solve the case and possibly discover what happened to Sibby all those years ago? 

This really was a book of two halves...the first half was quite slow and angsty (understandably so considering what Dee had gone through) and then the second half suddenly becomes action packed and full of drama, I was on the edge of my seat! I loved the different mysteries that were being uncovered at the same time and thought the use of the podcast transcripts worked really well. My only issue is that a couple of those mysteries were solved seemingly out of no where but other than that I thought it was great... I especially liked her Dad, he added a nice touch of humour to the story. I would really recommend this if you like a good mystery, it certainly kept me guessing! 

Thank you Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Something happens to her best friend that traumatizes Dee. Now Dee has to go on with life and we rejoin her ten years later. The story tells how Dee is still coping with what happened and how she is actively trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. Then something happens that brings the past into the present and Dee has to make some difficult decisions.

This is a great book for high school students to read. It can open up discussions about peer relationships, traumatic situations, kidnappings, podcasts, making differences, personal safety, and media involvement. I could see students acting out different scenes or maybe creating their own podcasts.

I enjoyed the book so much that I couldn’t put it down! The story was captivating and exciting. I wanted to find out what would happen and how Dee resolves her issues. I would highly recommend this for a high school library.
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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.
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I so wanted to love this book but for me it fell a little flat. The storyline was interesting and had so much potential but I just didn't connect with the story like I wanted to. The book seemed a little juvenile to me, making me think it would be a good recommendation for a younger reader, such as someone in the early years of high school or a mature 8th grader.
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I gave this book 4 stars out of 5, although for the most part while I was reading it I thought of it as a 2 or 3 stars. I love books that use podcasts as an extra added depth to the story the author is trying to tell and this book did a pretty good job, not the best I've read but it added to the substance to the novel. I liked Dee our main character who uses a pseudonym for her podcast, she just wants to help bring awareness and hope fully new clues to missing persons cases. Especially after we find out that her reason behind this is because her best friend was kidnapped when they were children. Dee is also a lesbian and I felt like it was done very naturally especially as an lgbtqa+ person myself. I also loved the twists and turns of the mysteries in this book, and yes there are multiple mysteries. A couple of things that felt awkward to me were Burke's character and the instalove with Sarah. Burke was a great side character but I felt like the author didn't really know how to make Burke fit into the story more effortlessly, he was kind of bench when his character had the potential to really add more to the story. Sarah was awesome and I loved how Dee and her developed except they went to instalove pretty quickly which just turned out to make awkward reading because Sarah ended up pretty important character but she didn't have much personality except to get Dee talking in the book.  Besides these few complaints the story was well written and the twists thought out nicely.
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This was a roller coaster from beginning to end  and I was captivated! A young woman has her sister kidnapped in front of her eyes and on the ten year anniversary weird things start to happen. She starts a podcast to honor those that are lost and try to find them. But clues start leading back to her sister maybe being alive??? And then a neighbor goes missing - who used to live in her old house? Coincidence? This book had me guessing until the LAST PAGE. I honestly didn’t know who to believe. Well written. Highly recommend.  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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