Review: I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

I Hope You're ListeningI Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When she was just 7-years old, Dee Skinner’s best friend, Sibby, was kidnapped as the two girls were playing in the woods adjacent to their houses.

Dee witnessed the incident, but as a 7-year old, was unable to help Sibby. This fact has haunted her every day since. Sibby has never been found.

As a teen, Dee has distanced herself from her peers. Her one good friend, Burke, has remained steadfastly by her side, even though she’s a bit prickly with everyone else.

Burke is also Dee’s secret keeper. He’s the only person who knows that Dee is the creator and host of a hugely popular podcast, Radio Silent, that discusses and investigates missing persons cases from around the country.

Dee feels like the podcast helps to relieve some of her guilt over not being taken while Sibby was. Dee hosts the podcast completely anonymously, using the name, The Seeker.

Her many fans and listeners actively investigate the cases discussed on the show. Dubbed as the LDA, Laptop Detective Agency, they have actually found people!

Two things happen in close succession in Dee’s life though, that soon threaten her hold on her anonymity. An attractive girl moves into the house directly across the street and a little girl, living in Dee’s former house, has gone missing.

Dee wants to do whatever she can to help find the missing girl, Layla, whose disappearance seems too much of a coincidence. Could it possibly be related to Sibby’s disappearance? Even 10-years later?

As Dee and the girl across the street, Sarah, grow ever closer, Dee is able to open up to her in a way she has been unable to before with anyone else. Even though it makes her vulnerable in a way, it also gives her strength, because now she has someone on her side.

Dee has always felt like the people in town judged her after Sibby’s disappearance; like they felt she could have done something to help. Since Sarah just moved to town, she doesn’t have any preconceived notions of who Dee is, which helps Dee to be able to connect with her more naturally.

After Dee opens up to Sarah, the two girls begin to investigate Layla’s disappearance together and go on one heck of an adventure doing so!

Reading Dee and Layla’s relationship evolve was one of my favorite aspects of this story. I loved how Dee could finally let her guard down and be honest about herself with someone else. I think it means a lot to find that one person you can truly be yourself around, especially when you have been hiding a bit, like Dee was.

In addition to the evolution of the girl’s relationship, which if you are wondering, is romantic, I also enjoyed the overall evolution of the story. How Ryan went out revealing the situation with Dee and Sibby; everything that happened leading up to the kidnapping and shortly thereafter.

I also very much enjoyed, unsurprisingly, the podcast element. Listening to the audiobook, you really get a feel for what Radio Silent actually would have sounded like. That was quite compelling.

It got pretty crazy towards the end, but by then, I was committed to these characters and this story. A lot of it was great, wild and fun, but there were a couple of plot points at the very end that just seemed to be wrapped up a little too conveniently for my tastes.

Thusly, my overall enjoyment suffered just a wee bit; but seriously, just a tiny bit.

I definitely recommend this for fans of YA Mysteries, missing person, or cold case tropes, and of course, people who love a podcasting element to their Mystery/Thrillers.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Albert Whitman & Company, for providing me a copy to read and review. I had a lot of fun with it and look forward to reading more from Tom Ryan!

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