Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Synopsis from Goodreads:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her. But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live 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.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps. The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.

I had several bookish friends recommend this one to me over the last year and I finally got around to reading it. They were right; it was my kind of book!

I’m a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver’s books and Delia Owens’s writing style is very similar. Lush, evocative descriptions of the natural world of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and it’s importance as a character with its own life within the story play a large role in both these authors’ works. I loved Kya – what a strong, amazing person she is – and I loved seeing her grow from the curious child into the intelligent, well-read woman she becomes.

The ending didn’t come as a surprise to me, but I enjoyed having it play out to the end. Definitely a book full of quote-worthy moments and a guidebook of it’s own kind to navigating both the inland waterways of the marsh as well as the journey of human emotions. Definitely worth a read!

Overall rating of 4/5 stars for this one. This is book 9/20 of the #20booksofsummerchallenge.

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