Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens,

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Book description


For years, rumours 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…

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Why read it?

32 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is a book of many parts. It’s essentially a coming-of-age murder mystery, but there’s so much more to enjoy in this book – not least the wonderful filmic descriptions of the setting. 

The lead character is a young girl named Kya who grows up alone in the marshes of North Carolina when her family deserts her. For me, she’s the classic clever, feisty girl who has no choice but to survive on her wits.

She learns to feed herself and finds ways to survive on her own – she’s a problem-solver, a lover of nature, a free spirit…

From Susanna's list on featuring a feisty female.

I found the story of young Kya, abandoned by both parents and surviving on her own in a wild and rugged salt marsh along the North Carolina coast, both inspiring and heartbreaking.

Nature teaches and provides for her when the civilized world turns their back on her. During my time in the wilds of Africa, I saw first-hand the riches provided by the pristine surroundings we passed through, and, like Kya, felt a powerful urge to preserve and protect these special places from decimation by human progress.

The natural world, while rife with inherent dangers, unlike human beings, is never…

Sink into the rich setting of North Carolina, which becomes a character of its own in this lyrical novel.

Readers follow Kya and her loving connection to the place that raised her, particularly as “the marsh became her mother” early in life. Her coming-of-age journey will tug at readers’ hearts, and though there is a film based on this novel, readers should enjoy the book first. 

If you’re one of the two people on the planet who haven’t read this book, pick it up.

Owens presents an extremely unlikely scenario—its premise alone makes it worthwhile—with an intriguing mystery and a big surprise. There’s a lot here to discuss, and I think every book club should dissect this one.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in a boat in the middle of a blackwater swamp, you know that there is no more peaceful place in the world.

There are no mosquitoes in the North Carolina swamps–just spiders and alligators. Who worries about those? Delia Owens creates a character, Kya, who fits in so well with the serene marshes and swamps that she simply becomes part of the fauna.

So, while the reader is fascinated with the character and how she ends up alone on a marsh, Owens deftly weaves in romance and a murder mystery. It is…

This is a beautifully written book, that brings the marshes of North Carolina to life in a way I didn’t think was possible.

Not only will it transport you to this unique wilderness, it places you in Kya’s isolated world in a profound way, too. I was skeptical going in, because of the hype, but honestly—it was breathtaking. It’s also an example of a different type of worldbuilding which is why I wanted to include it here (narrowly beating out Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code, which will whisk you to the now-infamous Bletchley Park amid WWII).

There’s nothing dystopian,…

In the backwoods of a beautiful and wild North Carolina coastal town, comes the tragic but triumphant world of the “Marsh Girl,” Kaya Clark. Left to fend for herself after being deserted by her parents, Kaya’s will to survive, as well as the overwhelming odds to rid herself of long-held stigmas, give voice to the fact that those who are marginalized are victimized as a result of it. As an author who writes the underdog-always-wins stories, this attracted me immediately, as did Owen’s writing, which puts the reader front and center into the ostracized heroine’s life. The storyline, the richly…

This story is set in the 1950s along the marshy North Carolina coast. Kya’s mother deserts her first, then her older siblings, leaving Kya to bring herself up. Nature plays a huge role in Kya’s life, as the marsh creatures are her only friends. The people in the nearby town call her the Marsh Girl, and she’s happy with that--until she begins to feel something is missing. Where the Crawdads Sing is both an unusual coming-of-age novel and a murder mystery. And an excellent read.

Kya is left to figure how out how to survive in her home in the swamp after being abandoned by her family. We are drawn in by her awe of nature and the beauty she sees in it, as well as how it encourages her own talents to unfurl. And we have the unusual romantic pairing with Chase that makes us root for them to stay together when misunderstandings drive them apart. The murder mystery aspect just adds further intrigue to the story of a lonely young woman others don’t take the time to understand. And while it may not…

From Suzanne's list on smart women trying to figure it all out.

I know everyone and their cat has read this book but, as it’s one of my all-time favourites, I just couldn’t leave it off my list. This beautiful, haunting book is set in North Carolina, 1950 to 1960, and follows the life of Kya Clark “The Marsh Girl”, a young woman who, after being abandoned by her entire family, must learn to survive alone in the wilderness, even after being accused of murder. It’s best to go into this one blind, so I won’t say too much more about the plot. A story of loneliness, nature, love, family, and what…

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