Kayla’s Review of “I Hope You’re Listening” by Tom Ryan
About Kayla’s Review of “I Hope You’re Listening” on The Book Brontosaurus
“I remember being so interested in this book when I first read the description. My first thought was that it reminded me a little of “Far From You” by Tess Sharpe, one of my favorite books that I read a while ago and decided to review this year. I was even more excited to be given the opportunity to review an ARC.” – Kayla
Title: I Hope You’re Listening
Author: Tom Ryan
Page Count: 368
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: AW Teen
Content Warning: Kidnapping
“In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.
At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.”
Overall Rating and Review Blurb
Book Review for “I Hope You’re Listening”
Readability: 4 out of 5 Tree Stars
The beginning of this book had a unique start. We find out early on that Sibby, Dee’s childhood friend, went missing when they were young. Dee blames herself for not being able to save her. Just as predicted, the characters have this element of grief and guilt that reminded me a lot of “Far From You”, which I mentioned earlier.
Radio Silence, the podcast we are introduced to in the second chapter, highlights evidence for ongoing missing person’s investigations in an effort to find the missing individuals. I wanted to know more about the story almost immediately because I love a good mystery. I always view mystery books/shows/movies as a challenge; they are an opportunity for me to solve the mystery first.
Plot: 4 out of 5 Tree Stars
“I take a breath, and then for the first time in ten years, I tell my story.”“I Hope You’re Listening”, Tom Ryan
Some things I loved were the concurrent investigations and storylines. We not only come to know Dee’s story, but also the missing girl that the plot surrounds, and some other disappearances that Dee covers in her podcast. It was a challenge to figure out how all of the pieces would fit together at the end. I absolutely thought this added to the mystery and it made it really difficult for me to guess the ending, which means it wasn’t predictable; that’s a plus for me.
Characters: 4 out of 5 Tree Stars
I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot and I can say I was entertained the entire time. Frankly, I just couldn’t put this down! I enjoyed the storytelling as well as the characters and their relationships. The conflict and the tension felt real and that made the story that much better.
“Why couldn’t I have dug deep, found strength, risen to the occasion?”“I Hope You’re Listening”, Tom Ryan
“I Hope You’re Listening” deals with a lot of complex emotions that took me for quite the ride. Dee copes with her guilt by producing a podcast to help solve other missing person cases. She’s forced to face her past when a little girl in her town is missing and that makes for a really interesting period of growth for her. We see her go through a lot and her journey was really well written.
Wow Factor: 4 out of 5 Tree Stars
The mystery in this book was great but that honestly wasn’t even my favorite part. I loved this book’s approach to Dee and her sexuality. I love reading queer stories because they make me feel heard. And there are a lot of books out there that are concerned with a character’s coming out story. And there’s nothing wrong with this but there are so many other elements to the experience of being queer besides a coming-out story.
I appreciated that Dee’s sexuality was a part of her, without being the only part of her. The story wasn’t cluttered with anecdotes about how or when she came out. She’s queer but the story isn’t wrapped up in that part of her life. It’s a part of her, just like any other story with heterosexual leads.
There was one reason I couldn’t give this book 5 Tree Stars, and it’s honestly no fault of its own. While I didn’t solve the mystery in this one, I felt like I’d been here before. I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of the elements throughout this book. While I enjoyed them, I had seen them before. I was reminded of books like “The Girl in 6E” by A. R. Torre, and, as I’m sure you’re tired of me mentioning, “Far From You” by Tess Sharpe. The plot surrounding Radio Silence and the LDA reminded me of the Netflix documentary, Don’t F*ck with Cats.
I really enjoy original stories, and it’s absolutely not Tom Ryan’s fault that I apparently have a type, and that I consumed these other pieces of media before I got to “I Hope You’re Listening”.
Seriously, pre-order this so you can read it when it drops. It’s completely worth it.