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Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,6074081,112 (4.18)1 / 321
For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She's barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world -- until the unthinkable happens.… (more)
  1. 111
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though much about these novels is dissimilar, both offer a historical Southern setting and a farcical trial that illuminates the small-minded nature of a town's inhabitants. Both atmospheric novels also feature young female protagonists who come of age under challenging circumstances.… (more)
  2. 91
    The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (SubrbnMom)
  3. 60
    Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (kristenl)
  4. 30
    The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Girls come of age in the wilderness.
  5. 30
    A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (gypsysmom)
  6. 20
    Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: A book of a young girl's survival in a dysfunctional family in North Carolina.
  7. 10
    The Boatman's Daughter by Andy Davidson (dmenon90)
    dmenon90: Similar marsh setting, young girl protagonist, complicated relationships with men, themes of danger and survival. But the Davidson book is magical realism.
  8. 10
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (LAKobow)
  9. 11
    Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (WendyRobyn)
    WendyRobyn: Strong presence of nature and nature sciences, small town USA, romantic interest between protagonist and sensitive, educated man
  10. 00
    The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (kristenl)
  11. 00
    Let's No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both coming of age stories are character driven and center on young women living on the outskirts of society. Vivid imagery of locales in the southern United States feature prominently.
  12. 01
    My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (shaunie)
    shaunie: Both have a girl growing up in unusual, deprived circumstances at the centre of the story. My Absolute Darling, whilst flawed, is far better written.
  13. 02
    A Drop in the Ocean: A Novel by Jenni Ogden (rainpebble)
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» See also 321 mentions

English (398)  French (3)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (407)
Showing 1-5 of 398 (next | show all)
Where the Crawdads Sing requires suspension of disbelief, but it rewards that suspension with a good yarn. This book merges nature writing about a North Carolina tidewater marsh, a murder mystery and small-town courtroom drama, a 1960s coming-of-age, and a psychological study. It does a solid job at all of them individually, and I'm willing to guess that there are very few books in this niche. That leaves this book in a league of its own, and readers' reactions based on their expectations and their happiness reading outside their usual genres.

Personally, I could probably have done without the post-1969 portion altogether -- though I don't know how else Kya's story might have concluded. Also, in real life the author's stepson and husband are wanted for questioning in Zambia for murdering a poacher and covering up the crime?!? (that casts this book in rather a different light). This book was entertaining, but not as powerful as I was hoping; perhaps my expectations were too high. ( )
  pammab | Sep 20, 2021 |
Cautious 4 stars

Well written and engaging. I found myself turning pages earnestly, and I loved the ecological beauty present in the story. I loved the themes of loneliness and isolation and the quiet exploration of trauma, the damage it does to us through generations.

Structurally, though, I wish the story had been better staggered against the murder mystery, and as a wholly subjective preference I found the ending very predictable. I say subjective because it was emotionally satisfying and that will be plenty for many folks, but it wasn't much of a reveal. Side note, the POV did funny things (a strange kind of not quite omni) and that was a little jarring for me at first. ( )
  Sunyidean | Sep 7, 2021 |
Echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird, along with beautiful descriptions of nature, on a macro (marsh, ocean, weather) and micro scale (fireflies, praying mantis, seagulls).

I could have rated it five stars, perhaps, if my reception of the book was not affected by reading a spoiler while perusing an article on Delia and Mark Ownen's past life and adventures in Africa.

The author was skilled in shining a light on petty racism, exclusion and small-town cruelty. It also shows that family may come in many forms, and that real human bonds can be created during times of desperation, to last a lifetime.

Kya is an interesting character who was abandoned as a child and learns to fend for herself living in her father's shack on the North Carolina marshes. Her connection to humans is always tenuous and fraught with fear of abandonment, but she compensates by connecting to the natural world and becoming part of it, and learning from it on so many levels.

This book was recommended to me by a fellow-reader, and although I would not rank it as my all time favourite it was a quick, and very enjoyable read.
( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
A story of resilience, of survival, of self-preservation. Humans abandoned Kya but mother nature adopted her, guided her and taught her all the skills Kya needed to survive. And what a strong woman mother nature raised in Kya. ( )
  Douna1980 | Sep 3, 2021 |
Very bad, slow beginning. Just a story that goes nowhere ( )
  VadersMorwen | Sep 1, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 398 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Owens, Deliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cavanaugh, MeighanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kim, NACover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Gelder, Mariëttesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Amanda, Margaret, and Barbara

Here’s to’d ya
If I never see’d ya
I never knowed ya.
I see’d ya
I knowed ya
I loved ya,
Forever.
First words
Marsh is not swamp.
Quotations
Crows can't keep secrets any better than mud; once they see something curious in the forest they have to tell everybody.
"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She's barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world -- until the unthinkable happens.

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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.
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