Cover Image: I Hope You're Listening

I Hope You're Listening

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a “sadie” wannabe that doesn’t quite pull off the podcast and missing-girl-search narrative.

i’m a sucker for podcasts within books, especially in audiobook form with decent production and different narrators for interviewees. i can see "i hope your listening" being a fun audiobook.

as a story, however, it fell short for me. notably, i couldn't get over the title of the podcast – "radio silent." while "radio silent" is a common phrase, the handful of similarities between "i hope you're listening" and "radio silence" by alice oseman were too significant for me to completely ignore:
	- a secret podcast created by a teen
	- key phrases "radio silent/radio silence" and "i hope you're listening/i hope somebody is listening"
	- teen neighbor/friend loves the podcast
	- podcast host and neighbor become friends
	- neighbor eventually finds out their friend is the host of their favorite podcast
	- quest to find missing friend/family member

the podcast itself was rather unbelievable as a podcast. each episode was too short and did not have enough content to warrant being as popular as it was stated to be. the same goes for the plot of the book itself; the general structure and ideas are there, but the execution is lacking. the central mystery is predictable, though whether that is a problem or not depends on the reader. more important to me is the storytelling. there are several plot points that are glossed over, as if the author didn't quite know how to resolve them and so skimmed over them in the hopes that readers wouldn't notice that things don't quite add up.

overall, i had a fun time with "i hope you're listening," but i felt let down by the end. the story just didn't quite add up.

thank you to netgalley and albert whitman & company for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I just want to start this off by saying that I am not a mystery reader. As a genre, I normally avoid it. I think I normally find the stories unrealistic, and the characters irrational. While both of those elements were present in this book, I really loved the way it explored the mysteries and the surrounding cases. 

I Hope You’re Listening is the tale of Dee, the girl who was left behind. Ten years earlier, her best friend Sibby was abducted while they played together, and she was never found. Trying to deal with her guilt of not being able to save her, Dee runs a true crime podcast focused on missing persons cases. After another little girl disappears from Sibby’s former house, Dee is forced to relive and rediscover the events of ten years before. 

I know some other reviewers have complained about the podcast elements, but I really loved them. I found Vanessa and Nia’s cases super interesting, and I loved watching them develop. I felt like the podcast really added an element that I’d never seen before, that made this different than other mysteries. The podcast also allowed us to get to know Dee a bit better, which I loved. 

I was a bit disappointed by the ending of this, but it was minor disappointment. The mystery involving Sibby was done excellently, I was even getting creeped out by the end. I was invested and curious as to what had happened to her the entire time, which is essential in a mystery. It wrapped up in the best way possible, making the writing of Layla’s case seem even worse. I felt like her case wrapped up way too quickly, and without much foreshadowing. It felt like it came out of nowhere, and just felt slightly anticlimactic. 

I didn’t care too much about Sarah and Dee’s romance. It was a small part of the story thankfully, but I almost feel like it needed a bit more page time to really develop. Instead of feeling like Sarah was an essential part of the story, an independent character, she felt like she was only there to be the love interest. They got together too fast for my tastes, and I just never connected to either of them. 

Despite complaining about both the romance, and the resolution of one of the mysteries, I really enjoyed this book! It felt unique, and I was super invested in the story. I’d definitely recommend to fans of mystery! 

 Thanks to Tom Ryan and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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Dee has been haunted for years by the disappearance of her best friend, Sibby, which happened right in front of her. The survivor's guilt drives her to create a podcast that helps investigate missing persons cases, sometimes ending with the person being found, sometimes not. When another girl in her town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby's disappearance, Dee is drawn to help, but she'll get pulled in deeper than she bargained for.
This fresh piece from Ryan will have readers compulsively drawn in from the beginning. The everyday diversity is refreshing, and the plot is twisty and wonderful. For fans of "Sadie", and "I Killed Zoe Spanos".
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This was so much fun.  I wasn't really sure what to expect from this story since YA mystery can be so hit and miss but this kept me guessing till the end and had many unexpected turns.  I loved the characters and podcasts always make for such a cool atmosphere in stories.  Would highly recommend.
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I really wanted to love this one. From what I read about it beforehand it sounded like I Hope You’re Listening would be a novel in the same vein - a thriller/mystery story interspersed with podcast transcriptions weaving together into a cohesive, multi-layered story. 

When she was seven, Dee Skinner and her best friend, Sibby, got captured while they were playing out in the woods. Sibby was taken. Dee was left behind. At 17, she carries the survivor’s guilt with her constantly. As a way of manifesting that energy into something useful, she’s started a podcast through which she anonymously highlights missing person cases and, sometimes, with the help of her listeners, helps solve them. She looks into all sorts of cases, but not Sibby’s. Until another young girl gets taken from the house Dee used to live in, and suddenly Dee can’t ignore her past anymore. 

There was a lot of potential in this story and this novel, especially in terms of the thriller/mystery aspects. As the story picked up pace in the last third of the book, I did feel myself inching closer to the edge of my seat, curious and anxious for Dee. She’s a good protagonist, coping with complicated feelings about her trauma, with a conviction and perseverance I’m in awe of. And yet, I also felt this novel falls into a lot of “YA traps”, not only in terms of the writing, which is especially juvenile at the start, but in the characterisation especially, and the narrative doesn’t really do the work of earning that. There’s the ex-friend turned mean girl (who actually turns out to not be mean at all in the end, but the shift from the start of the book to a sudden understanding between the girls is startling), the supportive best friend (who turns out to Actually Also Be Going Through His Own Things), the protective parents (who we basically don’t hear from), etc. A lot of it remains very flat, only alluding to a depth we’re never actually shown. 

And this is a problem I had with more parts of the novel, also in terms of storytelling. There are a number of allusions to police screwing up Sibby’s case when she went missing, but never any more info than that. The side plot that Dee explores through her podcast felt like a very separate thing from the rest of the novel, and didn’t really integrate well. When you do choose to use this dual narrative, I think both narratives need to enhance each other, and I don’t think this did. It felt more like I was being told the same thing twice but in a slightly different form. I don’t want to compare this book to Sadie too much, because obviously they’re separate, but I think that’s a book that did this very well. Also - Dee’s podcast. It was really unclear to me why it got so popular so suddenly, and it didn’t become clear to me from what we were reading. As an avid podcast listener myself, it lacked a degree of realism and research that really took me out of the story. 

Same goes with Dee’s relationship with Sarah. I loved that there was at no point an “explanation” for Dee being queer. It sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud, but in so many books you’ll find a “I’d never really been interested in boys”-esque explanation that is completely unnecessary and often very cringy. Dee simply likes Sarah, and her friend can tease her, and her parents can be happy for her, without it ever being a big deal or a point of discussion. Breath of fresh air! And still… I really wish we could’ve seen a bit more of their relationship develop. 

I think that’s maybe my main problem with this book in the end - it’s trying to be too many things, all of which would’ve been so interesting and cool on their own, or a couple combined, but all of them together it’s too much, and nothing really gets enough space to breathe. Resolutions are too easy, supposedly logical even though they’re just really not. Character arcs are non-existent. Themes are rushed. Really bummed that this one wasn’t what I was hoping it could be.
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I adore books where there is a teenage detective and they solve crimes on a podcast. I am addicted to true crime podcasts, so I love when a book takes on that form! 

Dee is pretty likeable. She's a loner, after her best friend gets kidnapped when they were kids. So as she is older, she decides she wants to do something to help other people who have loved ones missing. She starts a podcast anonymously. No one knows except her best friend who helped with the technical side of things. 10 years after her friend went missing, another girl did. She decides to take this on her podcast. Then sh*t gets real. 

I loved the mystery. I didn't see the end coming. The action had me on the edge of my seat. This book gave me a lot of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder vibes, but was different enough I didn't feel like I was reading the same book. 

If you like YA thrillers definitely give this one a try!
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I was very excited when I received this arc and even though it took me forever to actually get around to it this book lived up to all of the expectations. My first Tom Ryan book was Keep This to Yourself and this was every bit as good. There's just something about mysteries surrounding childhood friends and the surviving friend doing their best to figure out what happened that Tom just excels at. I'm also not sure what it says about me to love that very niche mystery says about me?

I loved everything about this, the way the tension slowly ratchets up, the way I felt I was solving the case right alongside Dee only for the twist to surprise me in the best way possible with all the clues right there and just not assembled in any kind of way I would have put them together. The side characters were also just great; Burke and Dee's father were clear standouts for me. Dee's father in particular, that man is gonna stick with me for a while. The friends lovers with Sarah and Dee was also v cute, love that for them. Dee as a protagonist I found to be highly relatable and I was rooting for her at every turn as she tried to process past trauma and navigate the current situation she found herself in.

Also I'm not a person that usually says that a book has certain vibes, but the autumnal/wintery vibes were here for me. If you're looking for those, here they are. 10/10 would highly recommend this one. I could not and did not want to put this book down almost from the moment that I read the first chapter.
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WARNING: Be prepared to hold this book tight after reading.* 

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan is an exceptional novel about loss, grief, and life after tragedy all wrapped up in a perfect mystery. IHYL centers around Dee Skinner, an introverted girl who anonymously runs a true-crime podcast that features active missing person cases. She also happens to be the girl who witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby, when they were seven. 

Ten years later, Dee is still haunted by the events that transpired and riddled with guilt that she was the girl left behind. When a girl goes missing in her town almost ten years exactly since Sibby’s abduction, Dee struggles with whether to get involved and as she finds herself getting caught in the middle, her podcast anonymity is threatened. Dee has to confront who she was with who she wants to be, and what that means for those around her, her listeners, and most importantly herself.

I am a huge true crime lover so the premise of IHYL was very intriguing; however, being someone who is obsessed with murder mysteries, I was worried whether it would keep me interested, but it 100% did! Ryan’s writing style is so enjoyable, easy to read, and allows you to fall into the book and see the story play out through Dee’s eyes. This 1st person POV book jumps between the present day and the day of Sibby's abduction (ten years earlier). Some chapters give a transcript of Dee’s podcast (which I especially enjoyed). It is such a beautifully written and laid out story. My favorite part of a mystery is trying to solve it along with the main character and as Dee dives into the mysteries around her it was so much fun to join along. This book had me pacing the room, yelling at Dee, and staring at my wall in astonishment. The mystery in IHYL is so real and consuming and what I love most is that it is so much more than just a mystery novel.

Yes, we get to solve a couple of mysterious happenings, but Ryan gives us so much more. IHYL shows the reality of those left behind in a missing person's case, the effect of those who weren’t taken, which is a side we don’t see very often and not like this. It is raw chaotic self-consuming grief. We get to see what this kind of grief does to those around us and how easy it is to believe that we are the only ones who feel a certain way after tragedy and how guilt can take so much from us. It also powerfully shows teenage love. Ryan writes a relationship that teenagers need to see. 

If you are looking for understanding, love, and mystery at every turn I highly recommend I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan. It will be your new favorite read. 

*And prepared to throw it across the room during.


-I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.-
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I Hope You're Listening is everything I needed in a book and so much more! Seven-year-old Dee Skinner was playing hide and seek in the woods with her best friend Sibby when Sibby was kidnapped. All Dee can remember was being tied up by people in masks and one lone sentence by the abductor. Ten years later Dee, under the pseudonym of The Seeker, runs a popular true crime/missing persons podcast which, thanks to laptop detectives, has helped located missing people all over the country. When another little girl goes missing from the same house Dee used to live in, Dee believes the two are connected and there could still be hope to find Sibby yet. 

Author, Tom Ryan, does a good job at addressing childhood trauma and the disparate impacts that trauma can have on young adults. Ryan also does a great job of representing LGBTQ+ characters, not using sexuality as a plot point but still keeping it a part of the story. The mysteries in I Hope You're Listening wrap up very well and don't leave you questioning what happened. 

5/5 Stars! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This plot didn't make all that much sense to me. There are too many moving parts. The first half isn't bad. WE have a lot of exploration of the long term effects of childhood trauma on a teenagers life. We see now witnessing a kidnapping informs every decision this girl made going forward. WE see, too, the effects on their other friends and the community on the whole, their sensitivity to other missing person's cases. That was the part that interested me. I was far less interested in the final reveals of the original missing girl's case. Especially since it takes us so far afield. Once you get cults involved I'm checked out.
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I enjoyed reading this book and thought it was a pretty fast read. The beginning was definitely slower than the second half, but I found myself really speeding through the second half because the pace had picked up so much. 

I did find some of the plot a bit predictable., though some readers likely wouldn't feel this way. I was a bit surprised by a few things in the book, so it wasn't entirely predictable. 

I was really happy to see a YA mystery with a sapphic main character, and who ended up in a sapphic relationship in the book. Unfortunately, I wasn't really attached to the relationship, and would have liked a bit more relationship development from them. It seemed to develop rather quickly and I didn't connect to them. 

I also felt like some of the side characters could have been fleshed out more, and I would have just liked a bit more from the characters - and even though the main character was explored more in depth than the side characters, I would have liked more from her too.
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I loved Tom Ryan's first book and this book was NO different. It sucked me in from the very beginning and took me in a direction I wasn't expecting. I loved it and will be telling everyone I know to read this book!
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I received an E-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks NetGalley! 

First of all, I love YA mystery/thrillers so I was very excited to snag an early release copy of I Hope You’re Listening. The building started off somewhat slow, which, for me, is usually very frustrating—especially in a mystery/thriller; however, it quickly picked up and I ended up absolutely loving it. The podcast piece was interesting and made the plot feel that much more detailed and engrossing. This book is a perfect fall “spooky season” read and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, especially fans of Sadie and I Killed Zoe Spanos.
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4.5/5 Stars


If you’re looking for a thriller to read during winter this year, this is one I highly recommend!! It’s part prose, part true crime podcast and I’m honestly so down for the podcast trend going on in YA mysteries right now, so I was drawn into this pretty quickly. I really enjoyed the podcast excerpts in this book and I think they went really well with the rest of the story. The mystery itself started out fairly mellow, though certainly suspenseful, and it got more and more intense up until the climax, which I have to say was truly amazing. The way everything came together and made sense at the end was extraordinary and I could never have seen it coming. 


I also really loved the romance. I often find this to be the case with thrillers, but I would’ve loved to see a little more page time for the characters' relationships. The chemistry between the two main girls was definitely there, but they got together surprisingly fast in my opinion and I could’ve done with a little more leadup. This didn’t really take away from my experience of the book, though, so I wouldn't let it be a deciding factor if you’re deciding to read it or not. Thank you so much to netgalley and albertwhitman co.
for the chance to read this book!
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“There were only two of us in the woods that day. One of us is missing, and one of us is left behind.”

Delia Skinner’s childhood ended the day her best friend was kidnapped right in front of her. She was seven and has lived in heartache every day since, for the past ten years. To cope with her feelings, Dee creates a podcast known as Radio Silence, which helps to highlight, and even solve some missing cases. I loved Dee and I really enjoyed reading about Radio Silence. Every few chapters in the book we would have a transcript of the podcast and it was so interesting to read. Dee’s character was very developed and her growth throughout the novel was remarkable. Dee has this quite strength about her and I love female characters like that.

My favourite aspect of the book was the plot. I LOVE MYSTERY novels and SAPPHIC MYSTERY? Even better. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the book would end and it was worth it. The book is slower than some mysteries I’ve read, but for this book – it works. I also enjoyed the romantic subplot. Sarah was adorable and Dee deserved some happiness.

“-the music slows, we end up swaying around in circles, breathing each other in, and everything is perfect.”

If I had one criticism it would be that I wasn’t a big fan of Dee’s best friend, Burke. He needed to be smacked with some growth …. or smacked in general. He was horrible to her at times, though his character was nicely developed as the jerky best friend. Though bear in mind – This could just be me as I have reached my last tether with men in books.

If you’re looking for a nice YA mystery to read this Halloween, or maybe you just want to read about sapphics solving some crimes, or one girl who will do anything to find out the truth. If so, I totally recommend I Hope You’re Listening.
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Ten years ago, Dee saw her best friend, Sibby, abducted, but any information she could give the police wasn't enough to find her missing friend. Now Dee is "The Seeker", anonymously hosting one of the most popular true crime podcasts. Radio Silent tackles cases of missing people, and Dee's listeners become investigators working to find those who are lost. 

Now, another neighborhood girl has gone missing, but Dee is torn about covering her case for the podcast. People are starting to link this  new case with Sibby's, and Dee has to decide how much she wants answers and how much she wants anonymity. 

Of course, I was immediately hooked by the main character being a true crime podcast host, and transcripts of the fictional podcasts being included in the book. The podcast was almost a character in itself, and is absolutely crucial to the plot. The romantic relationship between Dee and Sarah feels realistic and grounded, and I like that it is not a source of drama, but a source of strength. The twists and turns are really great, and the ending solutions really pack a punch.

I would definitely recommend this book. I got completely caught up in it and could not put it down.
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I Hope You're Listening by Tom Rya is a wonderful and unique young adult mystery, that I really enjoy.  Ten years ago Delia “Dee” Skinner went into the woods with her best friend Sibby, and she is the only one who came out.  Sibby's disappearance has bother Dee since, of course she was very traumatized.   Although Dee was only 7 at the time, she always blamed her self.   I love the podcast, and the mystery around it.  This book kept me reading until I was finished.  Dee also has a lesbian romance but it is a very small part of the book.  I can't wait to read more books by this author.  I highly recommend this book.  
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I loved I Hope You're Listening just as much as I adored Tom Ryan's first book, Keep This to Yourself, maybe even more! Tom has such a unique voice in YA, and it truly shines. I recommend Keep This to Yourself to my teen patrons often, and this one will be no different!
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This YA mystery book. Dee has witnessed the kidnapping of her best friend and has given her life to helping to bring home other kidnapping victims. She lives with the guilt that despite what she told the police her best friend was never found. When another young girl in town goes missing and the police think it is connected to her best friends kidnapping, Dee decides that she is going to find out what happened to her best friend.
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Throughly enjoyed this one! It gave me Sadie vibes another podcast-y book that had me hooked. 10/10 recommend this one.
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