Where the Crawdads Sing
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Where the Crawdads Sing Details

TitleWhere the Crawdads Sing
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 14th, 2018
PublisherG.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN-139780735219113
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Audiobook, Book Club, Adult Fiction, Adult, Young Adult, Coming Of Age, Romance

Where the Crawdads Sing Review

  • Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    *5 Stars, easily!*WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is a gentle yet symbolic depiction of the valiant survival of Kya Clark—a reclusive young girl who has been abandoned by her parents, siblings, school system, the entire town surrounding her, and what ultimately feels like life itself. Mother Nature has literally become Kya’s caretaker, and deep in a lonely Marsh along the North Carolina coast is where Kya will not only hide, but blossom into a primal independent being, coaxed inside the loyal embrace of *5 Stars, easily!*WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is a gentle yet symbolic depiction of the valiant survival of Kya Clark—a reclusive young girl who has been abandoned by her parents, siblings, school system, the entire town surrounding her, and what ultimately feels like life itself. Mother Nature has literally become Kya’s caretaker, and deep in a lonely Marsh along the North Carolina coast is where Kya will not only hide, but blossom into a primal independent being, coaxed inside the loyal embrace of an indiscriminate wilderness as she embodies its uninhibited spirit. Until a young boy from “yonder” befriends Kya, and her lonely existence is shaken straight to its solemn core. Add to that the curious unsolved murder of the town’s local “Golden Boy”, and all that’s left to say is GAME. ON. Although this story delivers one hell of a powerful punch, it is sculpted with quite a humble hand; a delicate wind that keeps building and building until it ends up emphatically blowing your mind. The writing. The Writing …Prose so unique; so breathtaking; so utterly beautiful that a single description of a firefly suddenly grows so intimate and probing, and I might have gotten something in my eye—*sniff*. Here you’ll find sentences that read like poetry, with a lyrical rhythm that sways the reader like the gentle rocking of a boat. Yet it is not showy over 0ver-the-top --- but perfect. Owens doesn't tell us what to think, but alludes to each message through writing so alive you can almost hear it breathing. She carries us through her dense, atmospheric tone and persuades us to seek and find; discover and examine, all on our own. She allows her striking imagery to guide us as the marsh has guided Kya, and I felt as though I could smell the sea and taste the sweetness of new love. Kya’s journey spans years, the reader present from her childhood into maturity. I love this story’s ode to wilderness and Mother Earth with all her glorious wonder; her instinctual need to nurture and protect. I love each character’s flawed nature as well as those redeemed. I love the heart and soul that saturates every inch of this story, and more than anything, I LOVE that spectacularly bold ending! There were a few tedious moments where I thought this story might begin to drag and possibly not live up to its hype, but I was wrong, and this story was so, SO right. To the reader who appreciates nature’s effortless beauty honored in fiction; to those who seek a love story every bit true as it is tender; to the one who needs a tantalizing murder/mystery to spice things up, and for those who tend to root for the underdog in hopes she’ll someday sparkle like the gem she is—this one’s for you. *Traveling Friends Read*
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    All the Stars!!!!!Can I just say that I loved everything about this book and leave it at that!?!Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of resiliency, survival, hope, love, loss, loneliness, desperation, prejudice, determination and strength. This book goes back and forth in time to tell the story of Kya Clark a.k.a. the Marsh girl. She lives on the outskirts of town, in the Marsh, and the locals look down their noses at her, she is judged, ridiculed and bullied. But there are those who show her All the Stars!!!!!Can I just say that I loved everything about this book and leave it at that!?!Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of resiliency, survival, hope, love, loss, loneliness, desperation, prejudice, determination and strength. This book goes back and forth in time to tell the story of Kya Clark a.k.a. the Marsh girl. She lives on the outskirts of town, in the Marsh, and the locals look down their noses at her, she is judged, ridiculed and bullied. But there are those who show her kindness, friendship, and show her love. Oh, how I loved this book!Kya was a young girl when her Mother walked away without looking back. Soon, all her siblings followed suit, leaving Kya alone with her often absent, drunk, and abusive father. She is left to care for their home, to cook, clean and take care of both of their needs. How her situation pulled on my heartstrings. She had to learn to shop, to cook and to provide food for herself in her father's absence. All while dealing with loneliness, feelings of abandonment and loss. Always wondering when and if her Mother will ever return. She was a smart and clever girl who knew the marsh and found ways to make money and provide for her basic needs. Soon 'Jumpin and his wife, Mable, show her kindness, generosity and love. I dare you not to adore this couple!As Kya grows and learns more about life through her interactions with the creatures of the Marsh, two young men enter her life. One is her brother's older friend, Tate, who teaches her to read and shows her acceptance and happiness. Another brings her hope of a future but won’t introduce her to his friends and family. Could one be her chance at happiness? A chance at belonging? A chance at being accepted? A chance at being loved? A Chance for growth? Or will history repeat itself?In 1969, local football legend, Chase Andrews is found dead. Rumors swirl as to motive and possible suspects. Rumors have been circulating for years about Chase and his involvement with the Marsh girl. Could she be his killer? What motive could she have?This book had a little bit of everything that I love: a likeable main character who pulls at your heartstrings, murder mystery, atmosphere, drama, coming of age, and romance. There are several characters who give and show kindness including, Tate, the cashier who gives back too much change and the couple who make sure Kya has what she needs. What is the saying? Those that have the least to give, give the most! There is a police investigation and court room drama and some twists and turns I did not see coming.This book is beautifully written and contains poetry and vivid descriptions of the Marsh. I highly recommend this book! It's thoughtful, evokes emotion, and transports the reader back in time to the Marsh. I loved every page. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    You know that person? The one who doesn't like what everyone else seems to love? There has to be someone in the outlier club and this time it is me. I was highly anticipating this book after reading all the praise from readers whose tastes usually align with my own. Unfortunately, I should have DNF'd this one when very early in the book, my eyes glazed over and I began skimming pages and pages of descriptive writing. The author is a nature writer and those sections were undoubtably well-written. You know that person? The one who doesn't like what everyone else seems to love? There has to be someone in the outlier club and this time it is me. I was highly anticipating this book after reading all the praise from readers whose tastes usually align with my own. Unfortunately, I should have DNF'd this one when very early in the book, my eyes glazed over and I began skimming pages and pages of descriptive writing. The author is a nature writer and those sections were undoubtably well-written. But I don’t care for overly descriptive writing. And then there's poetry. I skipped over those as well. Everything other reviewers say they enjoyed were things I intensely disliked. I struggled with believability. I won't list them all, but the implausibility of every single plot point was something I couldn’t get past. To make things worse, romance is not a genre I enjoy and the romance in this book had a very YA feel to it. Finally, I found the use of dialect distracting to read and often in the same paragraph a character would switch from local dialect to proper English.Sometimes my love of the story or the strength of the writing is enough for me to ignore implausibility and move past a few things I don't like. This wasn't one of those times.Recommended for readers who enjoy long, descriptive nature writing, and those who have no trouble suspending disbelief. If I had known these things before starting this book I would have skipped it, so perhaps my review will help other readers like me.* Thanks to Edelweiss for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    » 4.53 across 160,000 ratings on Goodreads.» 400+ holds at my library (I actually had to buy this).» #1 on the Amazon charts.» On virtually every Book Club's reading list....and I can’t finish it. I’m sorry. I do realise with those numbers it is definitely me. I read all of Part 1 and the first chapter of Part 2, then I gave up at page 156. Nothing seemed to be happening other than Kya fishing and cooking grits. There are lots of pretty nature metaphors like: Waves slammed one another, awash in » 4.53 across 160,000 ratings on Goodreads.» 400+ holds at my library (I actually had to buy this).» #1 on the Amazon charts.» On virtually every Book Club's reading list....and I can’t finish it. I’m sorry. I do realise with those numbers it is definitely me. I read all of Part 1 and the first chapter of Part 2, then I gave up at page 156. Nothing seemed to be happening other than Kya fishing and cooking grits. There are lots of pretty nature metaphors like: Waves slammed one another, awash in their own white saliva, breaking apart on the shore with loud booms— energy searching for a beachhead. Then they flattened into quiet tongues of foam, waiting for the next surge. But I just don’t enjoy descriptions of trees, swamps and bugs that much. It's funny. Usually when a book doesn't float my boat, I can still totally understand the hype. I wouldn't have called this one, though, I must admit. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    All of you talked me into reading this book. The Goodreads reviews were virtually unanimously good, not just good, great. It had to be good, I thought. And because I needed an extra audiobook I bought it on Libro.fm and locked myself into reading it. Bad decision.This book is just a pile of tropes and cliches dressed up in some nice nature writing. The plot is not much of a plot and the mystery makes up only a small section of the book, and much of it ends up being courtroom scenes and not much All of you talked me into reading this book. The Goodreads reviews were virtually unanimously good, not just good, great. It had to be good, I thought. And because I needed an extra audiobook I bought it on Libro.fm and locked myself into reading it. Bad decision.This book is just a pile of tropes and cliches dressed up in some nice nature writing. The plot is not much of a plot and the mystery makes up only a small section of the book, and much of it ends up being courtroom scenes and not much mystery. This book is basically Manic Pixie Dream Girl In the Marsh. We spend a long time with young Kya, abandoned, fending for herself, almost entirely isolated. I was willing to be patient through all that, to see what kind of person she would grow into because that had the potential to be very interesting.Except it was not. It became less interesting the longer I read. Because Kya doesn't act like a person who has been almost entirely isolated. She just acts like a regular loner. Sure, she may have some habits that fit with her strange upbringing, but she seems to understand people and language just like a regular person. I was nearly out of my head with frustration that the book had spent so long telling me how different she was only to have her be just the same as most people. (Deciding to never love again because everyone leaves you is a pretty regular-person thing to do when you're in your 20's, for example.)This isn't a book of deep psychological insight. You can probably guess from a couple of chapters in how it will end. (And you would be right!) There are no real revelations, the plot is pretty obvious ahead of time. And it's all rather confusing because there are sections where Owens writes well, her courtroom scenes are actually quite competent, but on both the broad strokes and the specific details nothing here really rings true. And the more time that passed the more I got annoyed with this book so it finally fell from 3-stars to a rare 2-star review. (I usually quit a 2-star book.) If you're going to give me a plot I've seen a thousand times, at least wrap it in some keen insight or character development. But sadly this was a failure for me all around.
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the parts of this book that were related to the marsh and the natural world, but the story itself did not wow me. I am definitely in the minority here - many glowing reviews, but it had a “women’s literature” flavor to me that I don’t personally care for.A nice fiction debut for Owens; just not my cuppa.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I'm typically skeptical of books that are hyped to high heavens and end up on every book club list for months straight, not because they aren't worthy, but because I can let my expectations get the best of me and keep me from fully enjoying a wonderful book. This book exceeded my already high expectations; it emanates a quiet power, a slow drawing in and connection of reader to book, one that I found myself able to get lost in due to the lush atmosphere and the depth of emotion. I can see now I'm typically skeptical of books that are hyped to high heavens and end up on every book club list for months straight, not because they aren't worthy, but because I can let my expectations get the best of me and keep me from fully enjoying a wonderful book. This book exceeded my already high expectations; it emanates a quiet power, a slow drawing in and connection of reader to book, one that I found myself able to get lost in due to the lush atmosphere and the depth of emotion. I can see now why this book is getting so much attention, and am thrilled to see that for once the hype train was right on track.
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  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars rounded up .A story of survival, of what the depth of loneliness feels like when a young girl is abandoned first by her mother, then her four siblings. Even at five Kya understands why they left - because of her father, because of his meanness, his abuse, his drinking. What she doesn’t understand is why they left her behind and neither could I. She remains pretty much alone since her father comes and goes until he doesn’t come back. It was gutting as she sits on the beach with the 4.5 stars rounded up .A story of survival, of what the depth of loneliness feels like when a young girl is abandoned first by her mother, then her four siblings. Even at five Kya understands why they left - because of her father, because of his meanness, his abuse, his drinking. What she doesn’t understand is why they left her behind and neither could I. She remains pretty much alone since her father comes and goes until he doesn’t come back. It was gutting as she sits on the beach with the gulls not wanting them to fly away and leave her too. Heartbreaking how she is neglected and abandoned, remembering the beatings, trying to figure out a way to eat. Atmospheric is an understatement, and I don’t use that word often because it seems overused sometimes but this place, the marsh permeates just about everything that is meaningful in this story beginning with Kya’s realization “And the marsh became her mother.” The marsh becomes her life, her livelihood, the essence of who she becomes through her self learned expertise of the insects and the birds, her art. But is it enough to heal her? The kind hearts of Jumpin’ and Mabel who help a little girl alone and in need, the only human contact she has until her brother’s friend Tate comes into her life, but is that enough to help her heal ? I love the writing, fabulous descriptions of the marsh. The marsh and its inhabitants, the insects, the fish, the birds which pique Kya’s curiosity, give her so much joy and company, and allow her to become the expert she does become on the marsh and marsh life. But is that enough to make Kya whole after so much hurt and loneliness?There’s a murder mystery, not my usual fare, but I was totally engaged, trying to come up with who the murderer was, totally engaged in the courtroom scenes. I gave it 4.5 stars because there were a couple of things that felt not quite realistic. But when I woke up thinking about this story, I knew I would round it up to 5 stars . I don’t often cry over books, but this one definitely brought me to tears at a number of places. Overall it was such a fabulous read, heartbreaking in so many ways, with wonderful writing and characters, a stunning portrait of a place, of the trauma of loss and loneliness. My heart was always broken for Kya, a character to remember. An unforgettable ending. This was a monthly read with Esil and Diane and as always I appreciate their thoughts as we read together. In this case, we have very similar feelings about this beautiful story.I received an advanced copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss.
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  • Betsy Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensNormally I would not finish let alone review a book I disliked as much as I did this one, but since I bought the book and am reading it for my book club, I’ve decided to say what I think:I found the writing of this romance/murder mystery to be painfully schizophrenic—almost as if there were two different authors: an experienced one for the vivid narrative and an amateur for dialogue and character development (which in fact may be the case, since the author’s Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensNormally I would not finish let alone review a book I disliked as much as I did this one, but since I bought the book and am reading it for my book club, I’ve decided to say what I think:I found the writing of this romance/murder mystery to be painfully schizophrenic—almost as if there were two different authors: an experienced one for the vivid narrative and an amateur for dialogue and character development (which in fact may be the case, since the author’s an experienced nature writer and this is her first novel).The story is told in two time periods: Young Kya, left alone in the marsh to fend for herself, starts the story in 1952; and police investigate a murder in 1969. The opening lyrical descriptions of the swampland and inner thoughts of the swamp kids had soul—I loved, felt, and smelled the land, sea, air, and dense plants. But when people started talking, the writing became stilted, overwritten, and unbelievable. This happened in the earlier time period with Kya and a boy and the boy and his dad, and same thing with the 1969 police dialogue. The kids’ scenes had an after-school TV special sound and the police scenes sounded canned, like a marshlands-of-North Carolina version of Law and Order, where exposition is awkwardly inserted to move the story forward or there is overwriting that takes away from what could have sounded more authentic to the region. For example, a deputy says to his sheriff:“I’m hungry. Let’s go by the diner on the way out there.” “Well, get ready for an ambush. Everybody in town’s pretty riled up. Chase Andrew’s murder’s the biggest thing’s happened ’round here, maybe ever. Gossip’s goin’ up like smoke signals.”“Well, keep an ear out. We might pick up a tidbit or two. Most ne’er-do-wells can’t keep their mouths shut.”(61)Why not just, “I’m hungry,” and cut to the wonderful description of the Barkley Cove Diner and the scene of people gossiping about the crime? In real life, people do not say everything they’re thinking or narrate everything that’s happening or is going to happen. In fact, most of us lie about what we really think—if we are even self-aware enough to know our subconscious thoughts. Leaving out thoughts, leaving gaps in truth, and trusting the characters a writer has created allows subtext and real character to drive things forward. There is none of that here.I found the character development absurd: Simply put, there are no authentic, complex characters. Kya starts as a believable swamp rat, which is inconsistent with what we learn about the derivation of her parents. Her voice is unbelievably inconsistent throughout the book. Then there are the two one-dimensional romances, one of which allows her to learn to read at age 14 and grow into an educated, sophisticated, poetry-reciting biologist, knowing lyrics to songs she never would have heard, etc., and the other, a sexual relationship where she doesn’t even think about getting pregnant although she seems to have learned all her biology from the esoteric scientific texts she reads.I finished this book by skimming large sections, starting at page 164 when the entire plot became apparent, sans an end-of-book twist which was intellectually fun, but just as unbelievable as the manipulations of Kya’s character. Sorry, friends who adore this book, I’m an outlier on this one, I guess.
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    This is a real controversial book to be hated or to be wholeheartedly loved. I was at the team of deeply in lovers. And I know most of the good readers couldn’t finish it. But if they also give it a shot to try the audiobook read by Cassandra Campbell, I’m positively sure that they will love the story and all the nature parts because this is not only Marsh Girl’s heart-wrenching, sad, poignant, poetic story, but this is also about nature. When you listen to this book, you feel like the story is This is a real controversial book to be hated or to be wholeheartedly loved. I was at the team of deeply in lovers. And I know most of the good readers couldn’t finish it. But if they also give it a shot to try the audiobook read by Cassandra Campbell, I’m positively sure that they will love the story and all the nature parts because this is not only Marsh Girl’s heart-wrenching, sad, poignant, poetic story, but this is also about nature. When you listen to this book, you feel like the story is narrated by nature…The swamp, the trees, all those rare kinds of birds, breezing wind, wild animal’s roaring…That’s all out there and you can hear them, smell them, imagine them in your mind… It’s so alive, realistic, rejuvenating!So this book is about hate, abandonment, neglect, reject to accept the differences of other people.A little girl tries to stay alive on this wild nature but old those wild, unpredictable, dangerous creatures of nature never scared her. The ruthless people who are adamant to hurt, humiliate, insult her were the real threat she needed to protect from.She feels alive by communicating with the birds because they cannot hurt them with their words, they cannot humiliate her with insulting words. They just fly freely and travel around the world as she is stuck in the swamp and gets jealous of their freedom to escape whenever they want.So she exists by resonating with nature and befriending the birds to fight against her abandonment, sorrow and unhappiness.I felt for Marsh Girl. I wanted her not only exist but live her life fully. I loved the romantic parts and I wished her happy ending.And about the final twist: My spider senses worked that time. Even it was sucker punching kind of surprise, it could still be expected. It still shook me to the core and I cried for her.This is my second round with the book. The author’s writing style a little exhausted me at the first but them words found their rhythm on my head like a lyrical and eccentric journey and I started to enjoy each chapter and let the words take the control of my heart and ache for the characters. As soon as I started listening to the audiobook, I fell in love this book one more time.So this was my favorite historical fiction of last year and I didn’t want to leave it without writing a few words how it made me feel after my second waltz with it! It was spectacular journey and I enjoyed it again and again!
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