cover image I Hope You’re Listening

I Hope You’re Listening

Tom Ryan. AW Teen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8075-3508-0

Ryan (Keep This to Yourself) blends queer romance, podcasts, and amateur sleuthing in a rousing and propulsive thriller. When Delia “Dee” Skinner was seven, her best friend Sibyl “Sibby” Carmichael was kidnapped during a game of hide-and-seek in the woods surrounding their suburban neighborhood. Now 17, Dee is the Seeker, the incognito voice behind popular missing-persons podcast Radio Silent. With the help of her listening community, called the Laptop Detective Agency, Dee has solved many mysteries, yet refuses to investigate Sibby’s disappearance despite provocations from a needling journalist. When a young child goes missing from Dee’s childhood home, though, Dee’s anonymous world is upended as she searches for connections to Sibby’s case. Ryan nimbly moves from past to present as Dee interviews former neighbors and friends, leading her and love interest Sarah to a remote community with secrets to hide. Red herrings and brief Radio Silent transcripts add texture to the novel, while intriguing clues keep readers engrossed. Though resolutions are questionably serendipitous, Dee’s purposeful voice is engaging, and Ryan’s portrayal of the way a crime can create long-lasting impacts within a community is profound. Ages 13–up. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Oct.)