Review – I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

Posted January 26, 2021 by Heather B in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – I Hope You’re Listening by Tom RyanI Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Apple Books

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.

I read this one because I saw it on a few Best Of lists. I like podcasts, and books around them, so it seems like it would be a good fit. But I don’t read a lot of YA, and this book reminded me of why.

Don’t misunderstand me – I didn’t dislike this book. I thought the side characters were more interesting than our main character, though, and would have liked to spend more time getting to know them and less time with Dee.

Dee and Sibby are best friends until Sibby is kidnapped while they’re out playing. Dee isn’t taken, and this book picks up 10 years later when she’s still dealing with it. One way she’s found to deal with her confusion and pain over the incident is by starting a new podcast. She discusses other missing-person cases, though never Sibby’s case. It’s pointed out to her that discussing Sibby’s case could lead to a solution, but she refuses. The podcast is done anonymously; she just refers to herself as The Seeker, and she’s determined to keep it that way. She thinks that if she discusses Sibby’s case, this will somehow lead to her identity being revealed.

Another little girl in town goes missing, and certain clues link it to Sibby’s disappearance. And even when the investigation hits very close to home for one of her best friends, the only person in the world who knows her secret identity, she will not use her podcast to discuss Sibby.

Frankly, this really frustrated me. Her conviction that discussing Sibby’s disappearance will force her identity out in the open isn’t logical at all. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but she just won’t bend on this. Her best friend is being actively hurt by the events that are taking place, and she won’t take steps to help.

The solution to the mystery of what happened to Sibby seemed pretty clear to me from the beginning, at least the general outline of what it was, but the characters needed to get there. And once they do, again, Dee frustrated me. She’s a 17-year-old girl who runs off to confront the person or people she thinks are involved in her friend’s disappearance. She has no backup, has told no adults what she’s doing, only her love interest, Sarah, who’s basically serving as a getaway driver. That’s it. It’s so monumentally stupid and reckless. Even considering the tendency of teenagers to be both stupid and reckless, this was too much. She didn’t try. She didn’t attempt to get some adults on her side and get ignored or told that she was wrong. She just takes it upon herself to confront people.

I was able to read this book in one sitting, and I think that helped. If I’d had to put it down, I don’t know that I would have come back to it. And I’m not going to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t think I’m going to suddenly start reading more YA.

About Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan is the award winning author of several acclaimed books for young readers. He has been nominated for multiple awards, and was the winner of the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award for Best YA Crime Book. Two of his books were Junior Library Guild selections, and three of his young adult novels, Way to Go, Tag Along, and Keep This to Yourself, were chosen for the ALA Rainbow List, in 2013, 2014 and 2020. He was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction.

Tom, his husband and their dog currently divide their time between Ottawa and Nova Scotia.


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