Where the Crawdads Sing

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...

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Title:Where the Crawdads Sing
Author:Delia Owens
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Where the Crawdads Sing Reviews

  • Angela M

    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 gull

    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.

  • Diane S ☔

    MEMORABLE CHARACTERS AND MEMORABLE STORY. For me to rate a book five stars it has to give me something bout of the ordinary, make me feel. Most of all it has to be a book or contain a character or characters that I won't forget. Above all it has to make me feel. This book did all three. Kya, aka Catherine Clark, the Marsh girl is an unforgettable character, abandoned by her mother at she six, her siblings shortly after. By ten she was alone in the Marsh raising herself, her main source of comfor

    MEMORABLE CHARACTERS AND MEMORABLE STORY. For me to rate a book five stars it has to give me something bout of the ordinary, make me feel. Most of all it has to be a book or contain a character or characters that I won't forget. Above all it has to make me feel. This book did all three. Kya, aka Catherine Clark, the Marsh girl is an unforgettable character, abandoned by her mother at she six, her siblings shortly after. By ten she was alone in the Marsh raising herself, her main source of comfort the natural life found in the North Carolina Marsh, the gulls she fed daily. She learned not to trust nor depend on anyone but herself. She was smart, curious, feArless and so lonely. As if this character wasn't enough to remember, there are also some supporting characters that play an integral part in her life. Jumpin and Mabel, a black couple that try to help Kya in whatever way she will accept. Tate, who has known her since she was small, teaches her to read anc much more.

    What will one do in the face of such loneliness? How much will they sacrifice if they reach out, trust? Prejudice is a big theme, because as the Marsh girl she is considered illiterate, unclean, and none in the village reach out to help. There is of course a villian, who claims to love her, but marries another, breaking her heart . This is there another thread comes in, a story told in alternate chapters, as when he is murdered , she is accused. Also where another wonderful character comes in, a man, 74 years old, a retired lawyer who comes out of retirement to defend her against a town that already assumes she is guilty.

    I could nitpick a few things, but I won't. I loved and learned much about the natural world, a different way of looking at things. On walks I take along the river I will look at things I ordinarily wouldn't. A survival story, what Kya has to do it not easy, but since she has little choice it is what she does. Making the most of what one has, regardless of how little. More than one I had tears running down my face, so this gets five, big marshmallow stars from this reader.

    This was mine, Angela and Esils August read, and as always our reads and discussions are something in which I look forward.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

    **REPOSTING BECAUSE I'M EXCITED THAT MY BOOK CLUB IS GOING TO READ THIS ONE NEXT MONTH**

    Oh how beautifully mesmerizing this book is. I’ve moved this book to the #1 spot in my list of favorite books of 2018. Thanks to my Goodreads friends Angela and Diane for bringing this book to my attention :)

    This 5* book is masterfully written, with outstanding character development. That alone would be a great book but there is much more. There is a love story and mystery woven through the story, and add art

    **REPOSTING BECAUSE I'M EXCITED THAT MY BOOK CLUB IS GOING TO READ THIS ONE NEXT MONTH**

    Oh how beautifully mesmerizing this book is. I’ve moved this book to the #1 spot in my list of favorite books of 2018. Thanks to my Goodreads friends Angela and Diane for bringing this book to my attention :)

    This 5* book is masterfully written, with outstanding character development. That alone would be a great book but there is much more. There is a love story and mystery woven through the story, and add art and poetry to that and you have this incredible book.

    Well as to the plot I will give you a little information on that, although you’ve all probably read the book blurb.

    At the beginning of the story we are introduced to Kya, a 6 year old little girl who has already been traumatized for life. Her mother leaves her father and the five children and never returns. Then slowly throughout some years her older siblings leave and then finally her brother whom she was very close to and her drunken father. They leave her completely alone in their falling down shack, no provisions and barely any clothing. She was only 14, she was completely alone and had no idea how to survive, but somehow she does. She has an incredible will and she loves the marsh, it’s the only home she’s known.

    She learns to fish, cook and clean just by remembering how it used to be. Barkley Cove, where she goes for groceries and gas has a store that is run by an extremely kind and generous couple who have lived on the marsh their entire life. She exchanges mussels and then smoked fish for gas for her motor and a few groceries. Mabel gives her used books, shoes, anything that she can get donated. They were her only friends.

    Kya has two real love relationships in the book. Tate she has known all of her life but now that she is older she views him differently, she begins to feel real love. He teaches her how to read which opens up the world to her. He is in her life for quite a few years and she seems happy, her life is good. She loves the marsh and all that inhabit it. She collects many things and categorizes them. From the books Tate brings her she learns biology, math, how things grow and change and she is fascinated by the marsh. The author describes the marshland so well I felt myself transported there, felt the humid air, the squashing feel when I walked and encountering all of the creatures described in this book.

    It’s incredible to think that this could happen but I really think there are those people who live in the marsh. Quoting from the book “this infamous marsh became a net, scooping up a mishmash of mutinous sailors, castaways, debtors, and fugitives dodging wars, taxes or laws that they didn’t take to. The ones malaria didn’t kill or the swamp didn’t swallow bred into a woodsmen tribe of several races and multiple cultures. .. . . . .two hundred years later, they were joined by runaway slaves, who escaped into the marsh and were called maroons, and freed slaves, penniless and beleaguered, who dispersed into the water-land because of scant options."

    After being disappointed in her relationship with Tate she finally decides that perhaps she could be more trusting. She shares things with Chase, a boy from town who tells her he loves her, talks about a future. But everyone always leaves Kya.

    Then one especially happy day for Kya, she had met with the publishers of her books, two at this time, but gets an awful message from Jumpin’ upon her return, Chase is dead. The sheriff is looking for Kya and there are rumors in town that perhaps Chase’s death was not an accident.

    Oh my gosh this review is too long and there is so much more to say. I don’t want to spoil any portion of this gorgeous read. There is beautiful poetry and paintings that I felt I could see. Read this book, you will be wonderfully surprised, entranced and feel great about a book again. Read Kya’s story, she will stay with you a very long time.

    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and Edelweiss.

  • Debra

    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 kind

    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

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    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 me 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 wh

    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 me 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. Full review to come.

  • Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister

    is a gentle yet

    depiction of the valiant survival of

    —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.

    has literally become

    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

    is a gentle yet

    depiction of the valiant survival of

    —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.

    has literally become

    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

    .

    Although this story delivers one hell of a

    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.

    …Prose so unique; so breathtaking; so utterly

    that a single description of a

    suddenly grows so intimate and probing, and I might have gotten something in my eye—*

    *.

    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

    .

    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

    that spectacularly bold ending!

    There were a few tedious moments where I

    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

    .

  • Christina - Traveling Sister

    When Kya Clark is 6 years old, she watches as her mother walks away from her, seemingly without a second thought. With the departure of their matriarch, the Clark family slowly but surely vanishes into the marsh that will become the only family Kya will ever know. Her siblings leave shortly after her mother, leaving Kya alone with her father who ne

    When Kya Clark is 6 years old, she watches as her mother walks away from her, seemingly without a second thought. With the departure of their matriarch, the Clark family slowly but surely vanishes into the marsh that will become the only family Kya will ever know. Her siblings leave shortly after her mother, leaving Kya alone with her father who negligent at best and abusive at worst. She is left to raise herself, care for her father and their home as she struggles with feelings of abandonment, a deep loneliness and fear that during one of her father’s absences social workers will come whisk her away to the dreaded group home.

    It’s the 1950’s when we’re given the bulk of Kya’s story and upbringing. To say it was difficult is putting it in the absolute mildest terms. She has no education to speak of, she has no means to make money and she must rely on her whit and the lessons of the marsh and a few kind townspeople. For the most part, people avoid her, don’t let their children play with her, mock and marginalize her. As we see Kya grow, what really shows most brightly for me was her utter resilience. She is one of the strongest and most genuinely likable characters I’ve come across in a long time.

    While Kya’s story is our main timeline, there is a dual timeline running in 1969 that starts off with the death of town legend and golden boy Chase Andrews. As rumors entrench the town about what could have happened to Chase, what might have happened in his past with Kya things get sticky.

    This, at it’s heart, is a deeply sad but moving story about a misunderstood girl, about abandonment and loss. However, there are uplifting moments and characters that come into Kya’s life that shed light into her dreary and lonely world - through friendships with a shop owner named Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel, through a boy named Tate who teaches Kya not just how to read but about acceptance and friendship and joy. These two timelines slowly begin to converge upon one another and as it does the true gem of this story becomes apparent: nature and all it’s wonders.

    I really took my time reading this one, and while it did start off a little slow for me, what never wavered was the truly magnificent prose that Owen deals out with an incredibly deft hand. I’m not sure I’ve ever read something so empirically

    , it’s the type of story that satisfies a need for a reader to love and appreciate language. One of my favorite things I’ve found in many historical fiction novels is the ability of an author to create secondary characters out of things like setting, the time period and in this case, the marsh itself.

    I’m not sure I quite understood what the term

    meant prior to reading this novel. The marsh, the insects, the birds, the mud and the sand permeate this entire story. It creates a heady need to immerse oneself fully in prose so elegant and indulgent that you can’t help but reflect in awe of the ability to weave such a vivid and emotional story in a way that becomes exceedingly difficult to do it justice with mere words that ultimately fall flat in comparison to what you have just read.

  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    Kya ran to the porch, watching her mother walking down the sandy lane in her fake alligator skin heels, her only going out pair, holding a blue train case. She never wore those heels and she never carried a case. That was the last time Kya saw her Ma. There has been fights before and Ma has left several times but she always came back. Over the next few weeks, Kya's oldest brother and two sisters left too. They were tired of Pa's red faced rages, which started out as shouts, then escalated into f

    Kya ran to the porch, watching her mother walking down the sandy lane in her fake alligator skin heels, her only going out pair, holding a blue train case. She never wore those heels and she never carried a case. That was the last time Kya saw her Ma. There has been fights before and Ma has left several times but she always came back. Over the next few weeks, Kya's oldest brother and two sisters left too. They were tired of Pa's red faced rages, which started out as shouts, then escalated into fist slugs or backhanded punches.

    Her Pa had fought Germany in the Second World War. His weekly disability checks were their only income. Her Pa eventually left her too at a very young age and Kya was all by herself. She lived in the marsh all by herself. She went to school once but she was teased and never went back.

    Steve and Benji saw a body laying in the mud. A man was laying flat on his back. Benji noticed it was Chase Andrews. They ride their bikes fast to the Sheriff's office. They let the sheriff know that they saw Chase Andrews flat out in the swamp under the fire tower. They let him know that he looked dead. The sheriff and the Dr. noticed that there wasn't any footprints near the body. None going toward the stairs or away from the stairs, none around the body and Chase Andrews footprints weren t there either. No footprints were found anywhere. This then turns into a murder mystery.

    I just loved the setting of this book, in the marsh. I loved the atmosphere and just felt that I was there. The descriptions of the environment, the scenery and nature was just beautiful. I am a bird watcher and loved her descriptions of the birds feathers.

    I also loved the mystery and suspense also.

    I really loved her writing style. Her writing was so beautuful. I just wanted to savor it.

    This was an easy five star rating for me.

    It just Wowed me.

    I loved the characters. I loved Kya the best. and felt so bad for her having to live the way that she did at a very young age. she was so intelligent. I loved Tate too, who taught Kya how to read and other subjects. I loved the poetry.

    I loved Jumpin and Mabel who were heroes.

    I could go on and on about this book but I could never give it the justice it deserves.

    This was a Traveling Friends read and I thought it was a fantastic discussion. I loved reading this with them.

    I want to thank Edelweiss, G.P. Putnam's Sons, and Delia Owens for the copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

  • JanB

    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 of descriptive writing. The author is a nature writer and those sections were undoubtably well-written. But I don

    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 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 known to skip 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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