Cover Image: I Hope You're Listening

I Hope You're Listening

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Member Reviews

Thoughts and Themes: This is a story that hooks you in right from the first few pages in which you meet young Sibby and Dee playing in the forest. From those first few pages, you want to know what really happened that day, and want to know if this book is going to reveal that to you.

I wanted to know if the new missing person case had anything to do with the past and what really was going on in this small town. I really enjoyed the short snippets that we get of podcast episodes and really want to listen to this book on audio now because I feel that would really add to the atmosphere in this story.

I really enjoyed how quickly the pace picked up towards the end of the book and how quickly things changed for everyone. I don’t want to give you any spoilers though so I can’t tell you much about what happened except that this book wrapped up nicely. I thought the characters developed nicely throughout the story and really liked seeing how different events affected them and changed them.

Characters: You get three main characters through this story, Dee, Burke, and Sarah. Dee is the main character of the story whose best friend went missing 10 years ago and things have never been the same for her since then. That case is now resurfacing as a little girl has gone missing from the home that Dee lived in when Sibby went missing. I really like how she develops throughout the story from the start where she is closed off and secretive about her feelings to when she shares things with Sarah.

Burke is Dee’s best friend who is the only one who knows that Dee is behind the podcast, Radio Silence. I love how supportive he is of Dee’s podcast even if it isn’t something that he is interested in, and love how supportive he is of the relationship between Sarah and Dee.

Sarah is the new girl in town who knows nothing about what happened 10 years ago and has no clue why the media suddenly has an interest in Dee. I really like how Sarah seems to come in and save the day when Dee needs her and is patient with her. I like that she never demands answers from her and gives her time to want to reveal any information to her.

Writing Style: This story is told through the perspective of Dee and through transcripts from her podcast, Radio Silence. I really enjoyed the way that the podcast was included in the story and how we got to read through some of the episodes. I thought it was a good way to see a different part of Dee’s personality and see the change in her.

I also liked how this story told both the present and the past through flashbacks from Dee as she explained things to others. I thought that the flashbacks were included at just the right moments and also thought that they were able to make you feel like you had gone back in time to those moments. I liked the way that you could tell that it was a younger Dee remember those moments and you could feel the way that she felt throughout those times.
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I Hope You’re Listening follows Dee, a kidnapping survivor who feels haunted by guilt and remorse for failing to help her best friend when she was taken ten years prior, who now runs a popular true-crime podcast in order to help find missing people all over the country.

The was the plot starts really pulled me into the story and I was always so intrigued. he podcast scenes were really gripping and some of my favorites. I’d imagine the different voices in my head with every new episode.

Dee was such a strong, mature young woman. Traumatic events force people to grow up faster and Dee never felt like a 17-year-old high school girl. She was kind, curious, tenacious, and she had a purpose, you can even call it a calling. These were the qualities that really made me instantly like Dee but she was not without her flaws. She was impulsive and even reckless at times, jeopardizing her safety in search of the truth. I was so scared for her sometimes and completely invested in what was happening at all times.

The writing style was beautiful and compelling and I quite liked it. All the while I was reading, I jolted down my theories and what I thought were clues foreshadowing the culprit and in the end, I got a thing or two right but it was still a very surprising ending.

With all that being said, I give this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall, I really quite enjoyed I Hope You’re Listening and I’m interested in reading more from this author. I recommend it if you like YA mysteries like A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson or One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus.
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I want to thank netgalley and the publisher for an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 I loved the synopsis of this story, and was very excited to jump in. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I hoped I would. If the first half of the book was similar to the second half of the book I would have enjoyed this book a lot more.

One of my biggest struggles was with Dee. I found her a very unlikeable main character. While I understand she has a tragic backstory, she was still very unlikeable. I also did not like the fact that I guessed a lot of the story's mysteries. 

I did appreciate the romance of the book. It was a little rushed, but I still enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the unique take on how Dee deals with her survivor's guilt. Turning her tragedy into a way to help others? I really enjoyed that! I just wish it had been done better to make me like Dee more.
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When she was seven, Dee went into the woods with her best friend Sibby. Sibby never came back — Dee watched her abduction and told the police everything she could, but Sibby was gone.
A decade later, Dee is still haunted by the loss of her childhood friend and obsessed with missing persons cases — so much so that she’s become the (heavily disguised) voice behind the popular Radio Silent true crime podcast. Dee and her team of internet detectives have even racked up an impressive record of solved cases — bringing the podcast to the attention of mass media, which Dee definitely doesn’t want. Meanwhile, another little girl goes missing from Dee’s family’s old house, and Dee can’t helping making the connection to Sibby’s disappearance all those years ago. Could this be her chance to finally find out what really happened to her best friend?
I enjoyed I Hope You’re Listening, which was fast-paced, engaging, and peopled with likable characters. The plot got away from itself here and there and it felt over-written in places — have editors just stopped actually editing books? Is that not a thing anymore? — but I liked Dee enough to stick with her, and I’m glad I did. So much of what happens to us as kids and teenagers shapes who we become and the ways we choose to live, and I loved watching Dee realize that, accept it, and counter it on her own terms. Not all of us deal with being the spare kid in an abduction scenario, obviously, but we’re all tangled in our own history, often in ways we don’t realize. I think the book did a nice job of illuminating that. And, of course, I loved the Radio Silent community — there’s a part at the end where they play kind of a big role, and I’m not going to lie, I got a little weepy thinking about the way that strangers can be friends thanks to the connections we forge on the internet.
So a solid read for me, even with some sloppy storytelling. I’d recommend it for your YA reader obsessed with true crime.
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Tom Ryan has proven himself to be a solid YA writer and this book is no exception.  The main character, driven by a childhood trauma to help others is compelling (and I would totally listen to the podcast she comes up with to help locate missing persons).  The romance, while not central to the plot is still engaging and the scene with the Dee getting ready for the dance with her parents' help is lovely.  Some of the clues Dee picks up start to feel a little unlikely toward the end quarter of the book but by that point there is enough momentum going that it doesn't matter, the reader will be deeply invested.
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Ten years after that day in the woods, Dee is still dealing with the guilt and grief of watching her best friend’s kidnapping. To help her cope, Dee now runs a podcast, Radio Silence, which sheds light on kidnapping cases in the hope of bringing in more information from listeners. When another girl goes missing in her small town, memories begin to resurface that Dee would rather leave buried. 
I really enjoyed the mystery/ thriller element of this book, but I enjoyed the discussion of grief and regret even more. Dee’s emotions were conveyed in every part of the story, from the vivid descriptions of the setting to the transcripts of her podcast. I often feel like fear is the driving emotion in mystery/ thrillers, and don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of creepy moments in his book, but the grief and regret just added another layer to the story. 
I did feel that some of the relationships, both friendships and romantic relationships, were rushed. I also think some people will find Dee’s character annoying if they do not take into consideration her past, but overall I really liked this book. I will definitely be looking out for the audiobook to re-read this as I always loved audiobooks that have podcasts in them!
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I’m obsessed with podcasts so I knew I needed to read I Hope You’re Listening as soon as I read its synopsis. Additionally, I couldn’t resist the fact that it’s a mystery thriller which made it perfect to read in October. I’m so glad I read it!
I read 50% in one sitting and I only stopped because I needed to work and while I was at work, I kept thinking about this story. As soon as I got home, I finished it because I literally couldn’t wait. I guess you can tell I was really hooked! I totally was. From page one, this book kept me on my toes. Guessing, guessing, guessing. There’s something about Tom Ryan’s writing that captivated me completely and I just couldn’t stop reading. I NEEDED to know what, who and why, especially regarding the main mystery. Yes, there’s more than one mystery!
Dee is an amazing character, she kept so much to herself, she carried so much on her shoulders and even when she was being self-absorbed, like any teenager especially a teen that went through what she did when she was a child, I absolutely loved her. Burke, her childhood friend, was also a great character, their friendship was solid even with its ups and downs and I loved their moments together. I wish we could’ve seen more of Burke as the story developed. I also loved Dee’s Dad, he was so funny and sweet. I really enjoyed the fact he was a stay-at-home Dad. Sarah, who moves into the house across the street, was a great addition to the story. She played a major role in Dee’s character development and I really liked how their relationship grew. She was exactly what Dee needed.
There were a few things that I felt weren’t explained well or at all. Sarah figures something out and I didn’t get how she grasped it. It bothered me that Dee didn’t even ask Sarah how she figured it out which made me feel like there was a piece of the puzzle missing. Also, one of the mysteries, the one wrapped up at the very end of the book, is solved but I couldn’t figure out how too. I don’t think we got the details of how the person who solved it got to the bottom of it or maybe I missed something? Anyway, I really loved how the main mystery is wrapped up, though, as well as the mystery that Dee, as The Seeker, was helping to solve on her podcast. This was the first book written by Tom Ryan I’ve read and it definitely won’t be the last.
Overall, I Hope You’re Listening is a gripping, emotional, fast paced, entertaining, solid YA mystery thriller. I recommend it to readers who enjoy this genre or that are looking for an enjoyable mystery October read.

TW: Drug use; Child Abduction/Kidnapping.

*Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.*
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Imagine you’re in the woods, playing hide and seek with one of your closest friends and after counting down, you run to find her being tied up and taken by two strangers in ski masks. Imagine if your friend was never found, and you’re left with the guilt of knowing she was taken and you were left to live the tale. 

It’s a bit like survivors guilt, and Dee is in that exact position. “I Hope You’re Listening,” tells the story of Dee, a high schooler who runs the 11th most popular true-crime podcast in the nation, “Radio Silent,” which covers stories of missing people in hopes of spreading the word and to potentially help solve the cases. Dee started this after her friend, Sibby, was abducted 10 years ago in the woods. In the current day, a little girl goes missing and everyone rushes to both find her and potentially find the clues to where she is, with one of the most prominent clues linking Sibby’s abduction to this girl’s abduction. 

What launches after that is a 500 page (I read this on my phone!) story about Dee, her hunt to stay hidden as the host of “Radio Silent” and find out what happened to that little girl. 

Overall, “I Hope You’re Listening” is a cute, but sometimes stiff story. I think that Dee is written very interesting in that she is stiff and at times a little rude or cold, but what she’s been through reflects in her actions. Most of her life has been consumed by true crime, and her guilt of that day in the woods is evident in her weariness to trust others, and especially her random moments of emotion or not feeling well while this girl’s search is going on. That being said, it was a little frustrating from a reader standpoint to have a main character who is so stiff, but it makes sense given her past. 

Something that did fall a little flat for me though was the podcasts. I love a good opportunity to use mixed media but the podcasts seemed a little boring and didn’t catch my attention. I found myself either dozing off or thinking of something else when I was reading them. They do manage to pick up in the second half of the book though, and I enjoyed the second half a lot, asides from a couple of disruptions. 

I think the second half has some great pros but a blaring, red, con which is the ending. The ending is very anti-climatic which is upsetting for such a book of its length. If it had been just a bit longer and laid out how the conclusion was reached and everyone involved, I think it would have been a much more rewarding ending. On the flip side though, the relationship between Dee and Sarah helps warm Dee up in her world and to the reader which creates a better reading experience in the second half. 

The Verdict
“I Hope You’re Listening” is a cute and fun read that appeals to a wide audience and showcases several issues not normally talked about such as abductions, dropped cases, and a wide variety of other topics. Although it was a bit bumpy and the lows were a bit low for my personal experience, there are a lot of good aspects about this book that deserves your attention. Although I haven’t read any other books by author Tom Ryan, he seems like a promising author who does a great job at writing books with good representation while maintaining an interesting story. 

My fina rating: ⅘ stars
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Oh, I loved this book! Spooky, clever and queer. Perfect for a little creepy Halloween reading this month. Just look at that cover art too! So beautiful.

I really liked Dee, a 17-year-old who witnessed her best friend being abducted a decade ago. She's secretly started a podcast that reports of people who've gone missing, which has spawned its own Laptop Detective Agency – a group of true crime addicts who work together online to help put the pieces together that the police sometimes miss. However, no one knows who Dee is.

Then suddenly a series of events launch the story into action. A badass babe, Sarah, moves in across the road and she just happens to be a fan of the podcast – and of Dee. Then a young girl, who lives in Dee's old house, goes missing and their small town is launched into yet another search. News reporters flock to the town again and it's not long before they try and join the dots between two missing girls who are linked by Dee.

While I like thrillingly creepy stories, I often get freaked out too quickly (and then struggle to sleep) but this YA book hit just the right amount of scary without going too far. Yes, I'm really lame but I just have an overactive imagination. I also liked the fact that even though this is a YA book and the protagonist is queer, it's not a coming-out story. Everyone already seems to know that Dee likes girls and it's a non-issue. It's so refreshing to think that this is the reality for some queer teens these days.

I enjoyed this book so much it would have been a five-star review from me except for one thing: it ended too quickly. I felt like the story was building at such a great rate and then all of a sudden it was wrapped up and done. It really could have done with being about 20-30% longer, giving space and time for Dee and Sarah's relationship to grow a little more and allow for a few more plot points before the big reveal at the end.

Other than that, this was one of the best books I've read so far in 2020. Highly recommend it.
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I love! Podcast mystery books! Such a good time every time, so much fun. The Podcast part is always my favourite part, and this one had a really solid mystery. I liked Dee enough, and I really liked her and Sarah together. Some parts of this were unrealistic, but I read almost exclusively YA mystery thrillers so I have a healthy suspension of disbelief and was completely unbothered. This is a great spooky time read, very nice fall atmospheric book. I recommend!
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~Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of I Hope You Are Listening by Tom Ryan in exchange for my honest review.~

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan is a fast paced, tense mystery novel. We follow Dee, who ten years ago was the only witness to the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. The story takes place in the present, where another child goes missing. 

Ten years after her best friend goes missing, Dee cannot recall much about the abduction. To help cope with this, she creates a podcast (which no one knows about) about true crime and solving unsolved cases with the help of her followers.  Another child is abducted and she realizes that there is a possibility that her identity might be revealed. 

Starting with the positives, I loved that this book had great LGBTQ+ representation. I also loved that Dee's dad was a stay-at-home dad. We as a society should start normalizing these types of thoughts, however I was guilty of being shocked (a good one!). Another thing I would like to add is that Dee is seventeen years old and is written like a seventeen year old. Some books can't do that well but I think Tom Ryan did it beautifully. 

I believe that this was a good read. It wasn't extraordinary or groundbreaking but it set what it intended to do. However, I think it lacked a deeper meaning. Because Dee was a very private main character, I feel like we as readers weren't able to sink deeper into her own thoughts, into what she was directly feeling as things unfolded. 
This book is a more of a character-driven novel with mystery aspects. It takes a while before she starts investigating herself halfway through the book. But when you get to the mystery part, it's fast paced and flows really well. The ending was alright, pretty satisfactory (but pretty easy to guess).

So, if you’re looking for a solid YA mystery that’s more character-driven, this is the book for you
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I really enjoyed this book,  a strong heroine, that was believable.   a heroine we care about as we watch her growth and her courage.  a mystery that has haunted her since her childhood and how she handles the guilt she has taken on.   her lesbianism is just an accepted fact.   male author but believable as a female narrator
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”The thin, delicate thread of connection that had been feeding back to me from the past, that I’d been hanging on to for so long, had already been broken, and I’d been the only one still hanging on to an end.”

Dee Skinner is the girl who wasn’t taken. When she was 7 years old, she witnessed her best friend Sibby being abducted and she was never seen again. Now 10 years later, she deals with her guilt and trauma by creating an anonymous true crime podcast called Radio Silent. But when a new little girl goes missing, she has to decide if revealing her own secret identity is worth finding out the truth, especially if both cases are connected.

This book started out strong for me! The mystery intrigued me and the w/w romance had my attention right from the start. I also appreciated many of the themes discussed in this book, such as loss of innocence and survivor’s guilt. 

The first half of this story was solid, but the second half really fizzled out in my opinion. It ended up being really forgettable for me if I’m being honest. I finished this book a few days ago and I’m struggling to remember the plot/character names without looking at my notes. The podcast aspect of the story became kind of irrelevant, the best friend (who I wanted to find out more about) was missing from almost the entire book, and the romance really fell flat. The ending also wasn’t for me, and I found that the explanation for everything that happened to be unsatisfactory.

Overall, this was a good read for spooky season but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it’d be. The plot was intriguing, but the execution left a bit to be desired. However, I still do recommend this book to people looking for an inclusive YA mystery.

*Thank you to Netgalley & Albert Whitman and Company for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review*
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Wow, this was a great YA thriller mystery. I don't normally love YA thrillers because they tend to not be realistic and things don't always add up. I really really enjoyed this entire book and read it in one sitting. I am a sucker for a book with a podcast in it and this one had it! We are following Dee who runs a podcast that is incredibly famous. It is to help find missing people, she started this because her best friend was abducted 10 years ago. Dee survived the abduction, but her best friend was kidnapped. I think the idea of a podcast to help solved missing person cases is amazing.

I really loved how this showed the aftermath of what Dee has been dealing with for the past 10 years. I don't know how I would handle being the girl who wasn't taken while my best friend was. Dee is trying to help solve a current case of a little girl who has gone missing and it is eerily similar to her best friends case from 10 years ago. I think this is a solid thriller that literally keeps you on the edge of your seat. While it did have some faults, they were so minuscule that they don't even matter! I would highly suggest reading this if you've been looking for an exceptionally written YA thriller full of great characters and an amazing plot.
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This started out kind of slow, but it quickly snowballed into a fully fledged mystery that had me on the edge of my seat. It starts off with a podcast. One I would probably listen to in real life. The premise of the podcast is someone putting out missing person cases out into the world for their listeners to help solve. That's when Dee comes in. She is The Seeker. She started this podcast so she could help others when she couldn't help the one person she wanted to the most all those years ago. Now y'all can read the rest of the summary for yourselves so I'm gonna get to the rest of the review. Spoilers ahead!!

What I loved:
- Sarah and Dee's relationship. Oh gosh they were so so cute. We didn't see quite as much as I was hoping for but it was still amazing.
- The complexity and sort of intertwined-ness of the main two cases. They were two separate things that were forced together. I loved that the story had me guessing for a lot of it.

What I didn't love:
- Burke. Just...he had the potential to be such a great character. I wanted to love him but he was just not good. He constantly trivializes Dee's trauma and tried to make it his own. He made some good points in his arguments that Dee wasn't the only one affected by Sibby's abduction...but he also made it seem like Dee was always saying that she was. Dee was perfectly aware that others were affected. But she had a right to feeling the way she did. He also constantly was pushing her to get involved in the new case, even after she said she was too close and that it was hurting her. She should've had been allowed the time and care to come to the realization that she, herself, needed to be involved for her own peace of mind. But all he did was push her and stop talking to her.
- For all the times Dee talks about how she's on high alert and doesn't trust people/strangers...she sure did just randomly trust strangers throughout the whole book. Just got into a strange man's van, drank and ate whatever was given to her without second thought, trusted that yeah going into the basement with only one exit is totally safe.
- okay I both loved and didn't quite love that Dee's queerness isn't all that upfront. I love it because it was so natural for everyone to just accept that she liked girls and often teased her about her crush on Sarah. But also...I really like when, in the story, characters are like "oh yeah, I'm a lesbian" or "I'm queer". Again I didn't hate it, I was quite fond of the situation. It was also a relief that there was almost no homophobia in this book. There's only a brief subtle mention of it for maybe 2 pages.

Again, it started off kind of slow and, for me, didn't really get super interesting or pick up until 70% of the way in. But this was a really quick and exciting read. I definitely recommend if you're in the mood for a mystery!!
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4.5. stars

WOW. This needs to be turned into a movie immediately!

Ten years ago, Dee Skinner witnessed the kidnapping of her childhood friend, Sibby Carmichael. Throughout the years, there has been no signs of Sibby, and all Dee has been left with are the haunting memories of being in the forest when her friend was taken. Now, in order to deal with pain, Dee runs an anonymous podcast called Radio Silent, where she discusses missing person cases and encourages her listeners to help her solve these cases. Shockingly, another girl goes missing--from the family who moved into Dee's childhood house. With potential links to Sibby's case, Dee gets a chance to finally find some answers after all these years.

<i>I Hope You're Listening</i> was fantastic. It's a mystery/thriller that will keep you on your toes, especially as the book advances. Dee's pain and trauma are written respectfully and while this isn't the first book I've read about a secret podcast, it was still entertaining. I also appreciated the lovely queer representation. There were no conversations about gay suffering and woes about coming out--it was just two girls who liked each other and decided to be girlfriends. I thought this was quite refreshing and the subtleness worked well with the story since the main focus was on Dee finding out more about Sibby. The ending was far from disappointing; I was pleasantly surprised with how nicely things wrapped up.  

I did think that the beginning was a bit slow (it definitely took me a few tries to get into this book) and there were some elements of the plot that were jumped into too quickly, but overall, I thought Tom Ryan's approach to a thriller was excellent. Again, the beginning took some time to get into, but after pushing passed that, I read the last 60% of the book in one sitting. Would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in YA thriller/mystery, especially one with LGBTQ representation!
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This is an amazing book for someone who may just be starting to read more mystery and thriller books!! The plot of the book is solid enough to keep people intrigued and rushing to figure out how the book will end after the main plot point of the book, the disappearance of the young girl, and enough plot development and character growth occurs to keep people interested through the second half of the book.
The podcast element really solidified this book through its role in Dee's character and the role it carries in the plot, it was seriously so cool and it reminded me why true crime podcasts are so popular!
I will say the characters in the book could be pretty hit or miss in terms of their writing and how fleshed out they could be, I really enjoyed Dee's character and I felt like her character and her development was well written, I just felt like some of the others could have been fleshed out a little bit more because they all had amazing potential!
I also think that, while this book is good for people just getting into thrillers and mystery books, it may not suit people who have read a ton of the genre, unless they are looking for a little more character-focused thriller book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I'd recommend it to anyone looking into the genre!!
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An huge thanks to Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for the chance to read this book.

TW: child kidnapping, drug use, homophobia, cult

"I hope you are listening" is a captivating YA mystery, with a cute queer romance, missing cases, guilt, friendships, intense characters, a story with many plot twists. I enjoyed reading it and my attention was captured right away!
Dee is a really interesting and lifelike character. Her guilt (even though she couldn't have done anything) was very realistic and the way she found to "deal with it" and to help other people with her podcast is brilliant and moving. It was so eerie and sad reading how many people went missing every years and none knows nothing about them. I loved the way people were trying to solve cases, finding clues, contacting people, digging up and the importance of the Web, if used in the right way. 

Dee doesn't want to get involved directly, she doesn't want to reveal her identity as the Seeker, but when another girl in  her city is missing and there are similarities between this case and Sibby's, she is forced to deal again with her best friend's kidnapping. She decides it's time to get some answers and she starts to investigate, helped by a new girl in town, Sarah. 

"I hope you are listening" follows multiple mysteries, intertwining during the whole book: Layla's disappereance, the kid missing, Sibby's kidnapping and The Seeker's cases for the podcast in a very interesting novel. I was captivated right away, following Dee and Sarah looking for clues and answers, investigating and uncovering. The queer romance is very sweet and I loved reading about them together, but even though it's there, it doesn't put aside the mysteries and how much Dee grows in her search for the truth, unraveling emotions and burdens she still has. 

I really loved reading about Dee and her investigation. She's stubborn, fierce, quiet and determined and the traumatic event affected her, her family and her friends, changing everything. Dee is not a perfect character, none in this book is and it's one of the thing I liked the most. They fight, make mistakes, get angry and selfish and they are wonderfully human. Dee and her best friend Burke fight, there are misunderstandings, questions and it's very natural.

I liked the characterization. As I wrote before, Dee is a wonderful character. Burke is another character I enjoyed reading about, supportive, stubborn and who was also hurt by Sibby's disappearance. Dee's parents are supportive and worried this new disappearance could bring their daughter painful memories, while Sarah, the new girl in town, is a welcome novelty in Dee's life and she's ready to be there for and help her in this mystery.

The mysteries, some small and some big, are interesting and they captured the reader's attention, who wants to know what happened to Sibby, what will happen next, following these improvised dectives in their search for the truth and justice.

I really liked this book, I devoured it, but I found some parts a bit unrealistic, but I won't spoiler anythingOverall "I hope you are listening" is a 4 stars for me and I recommend this book to those who are looking for a captivating mystery (mysteries), intense and complex characters and a thrilling story.
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Review to come to blog on October 16th during my Blog Tour stop and on that day on Goodreads as well.

I received this book from the Tour Host in exchange of an honest review.

I was already looking forward to this book and so I was excited that I had the chance to read it early. In the end I managed to wait at least until October 1st as I wanted this one for Hallowtober. But boy this was a ride, I just couldn't stop reading. Thankfully, between all the exciting parts there were also some moments to breathe. 

Meet Dee, or Delia. A girl who had a very traumatic experience. When she was a kid her best friend got kidnapped while she was there. We see how that still affects her to the day and also that this is why she started the podcast. To at least help out others because she couldn't help Sibby. She is a strong character, or at least tries to be. I loved her from the first page and she only got better with each new piece of information we get about her.

At times we go back in time, 10 years, to the moment when the kidnapping happened. My heart broke when we got the last piece of the puzzle. Poor Dee. :( 

I am not a fan of podcasts in real life, probably for the same reason as I am one to read audiobooks. My ADHD just doesn't let me concentrate on things like that. But I do LOVE LOVE podcasts in books, especially thriller/mystery books as it definitely adds something to the story. I also liked, hopefully that is the correct word given what the podcast is about, the podcast and how much hard work Dee put into it. And how much good it did. We see several cases and we also read about other cases. Dee has quite a record with finding people, so I could only imagine how hard it is for her that she never could find her best friend. 

The romance was just perfection, it was there and it was fantastic, but it wasn't overpowering from the mystery, the exciting moments. Sometimes that happens, so I am happy with how it ws done here. You are definitely shipping these characters. I just love reading how Sarah affected Dee. Just by wearing something cute, or just by saying something. It was adorable. I loved seeing them get closer and I just loved how sweet Sarah was. How she listened, how she figured out Dee's secret but also kept it a secret, and so on. 

I absolutely loved Dee's parents, and my favourite would be the dad. He was just hilarious and wonderful. The things he said just didn't fit his age so that both his wife and daughter would at times cringe at it. I had a big laugh when Dee and Burke came home... to find Dee's dad totally baked. :P

I am still not sure about Burke. On the one hand, great character and I do understand why he changed and became more distant. HOWEVER, I was just pissed that he kept pushing Dee into doing a podcast about Layla while she clearly said no. While she clearly was uncomfortable with it all. Respect her damned wishes. Even later on he keeps saying stuff that just had me rolling my eyes. I get he was affected just like Dee, just like many people. But no need to chew her out. :| 

Quinlee (or whatever the bitch name was) was one of the worst characters in the book and I kept hoping that karma would dole out some justice because hot dang that woman is a mess. 

I loved that this all took place in a small town. There is just something special about mystery/thriller books that take place in there. Everyone knows each other. 

The ending and seeing Dee go full out on finding Sibby was just wonderful, exciting, the pages went by even faster than they already did. It was great to see Dee follow the snippets of information she had and make something out of it. She is always saying that she just finds the stories to tell on her podcast and that she leaves the rest to the Laptop Detectives, but here she is, along with Sarah, and she is doing something amazing. 
That scene when [spoiler]she found Sibby? TEARS, I was just so happy to see Sibby alive. Healthy. Then there was the scene when Dee was running away and broke out of the forest, OMG more tears. You had all that tension and then that scene happens in front of you and BOOM, tension just flows away. Beautiful. [/spoiler]

The Layla case was also an interesting one and the parallels with Sibby were creepy. I can just imagine how it is for Dee, for the town. Another missing girl. Exactly 10 years after. Copycat? The same person again? I am glad that this case also got closure, and no I won't tell you what happens. 

I was so happy with the last chapters. That was a great way to end this book. A great conclusion. 

All in all, if you are looking for an exciting and mysterious read with great characters and sweet LGBT romance? Try out this one. Perfect for this Halloween season.
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This time, the mystery is personal.

While Tom Ryan's debut, Keep This to Yourself, was a murder mystery at heart, I Hope You're Listening is a new mystery, one with a much more sentimental air. Ten years after Dee witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby, another child goes missing in her small town, and all signs point to the two incidents sharing common origins. What already rattles Dee starts to eat away at her more than ever, and forces her to face everything she's learned and felt in the years since Sibby disappeared. More than that, she has to acknowledge the role she can play as the Seeker, the voice for those missing, if she wants to find the latest vanished girl.

Really, though, with all the personal ties clouding the way is it even possible?

I Hope You're Listening finds its primary ingredient in grief.

It's more character driven than Keep This to Yourself, if you ask me, with a greater amount of introspection and interpersonal conflict. That's not to say it lacks mystery, though! Of course I loved the elements that give this its mystery flavor: Dee tracking down clues, the past rearing its ugly head, and so much more. 

The heart, though, is in the grief surrounding Sibby Carmichael's disappearance, and its links to the latest case. While it's one thing to be the anonymous Seeker for cases Dee has no connection to, it's entirely another to dig into her own traumatic past, even if it means saving a child's life. Ten years ago, she watched kidnappers whisk her best friend away, and could do absolutely nothing to help. What seven year old child stands a chance against adults in such a scenario? But she blames herself all the same. No one else does, but everything she didn't do to save Sibby haunts her.

And with the newest case, that haunting grows stronger. She's torn between not making the same "mistakes" over again (not that anyone would accuse her of making mistakes the first time), and confronting the overwhelming emotion that accompanies a revisit of her deepest trauma. Even worse, it affects her relationship with her loved ones, sometimes in ways that hurt, and with good reason.

Really, I marvel at the strength in Dee's character. She's remarkably well-rounded, and stands in a position no teenager should ever feel they must stand in. I can't fault her for the sometimes brusque way she treats others, or her secretive paranoia, or the ever-changing tension in her relationships. She feels utterly human, and I have to love what that brings to the book!

Relationships, really, form another important ingredient.

Dee's relationship to Sibby is the source of her grief and guilt. Her relationship with Sarah is a chance at a fresh start, or even understanding. Meanwhile, she can trust her parents to trust her, even if they don't always show their support in the way she would most prefer. Her best friend has her back, even when it hurts, her school enemy is trying to help, even if she's not particularly kind about it, and the Laptop Detective Agency trusts her direction and ability to find the truth, even if they don't know her beyond her podcast pseudonym.

This web is so deeply important to every facet of I Hope You're Listening. It's the deep tethers of relationships or the fragile lack thereof that spur everything onward, whether in the present or ten years ago, and I absolutely adore how cleanly this merges both character and plot.

I also appreciate that we do get another queer relationship from Tom Ryan, and that there's minimal bigotry to accompany it. Sure, I wish the LI had a little more substance, but also? Dee deserves some peace and happiness and support, so I can't really complain about her getting a good girlfriend. 

I Hope You're Listening deserves a place on your shelves.

Releasing October 6th, just around the corner, it's already earned a place on mine (once I have money again 😭). Between a high level of enjoyment, excellent characters, and threads that come to complete ends, I have to recommend it. Sure, it will require a little extra suspension of disbelief from you (similarly to Keep This to Yourself, which maybe stretched a bit in the final chapters), but if you can get past the tiniest bit of that, I fully believe you'll find an enjoyable, rewarding mystery. 

And maybe if you want the full experience, you'll give it a go on audiobook! It doesn't have big podcast sections like Courtney Summers's Sadie, but I suspect it will pair nicely with the audio experience. 

CW: loss of a loved one, kidnapping, suicide mention, smoking, drug use, animal death mention, homophobia

[This review will go live on Hail & Well Read on 9/29/20 at 10am EST.]
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