Book Review: Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

where the crawdads sing delia owens book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:

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.

  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Published: 8/14/18
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Pages: 384
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.52
where the crawdads sing by delia owens book review
She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.
— Delia Owens

Why I Chose This Book

The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the mail. The cover attracted me immediately but also the synopsis grabbed me - I never heard a story like it! 

First Initial Thoughts

This story goes back and forth in time from the 1950s to the late 1960s. When Kya is just 7 years old her mother leaves and never comes back. Her father is abusive towards everyone in the family. Soon her siblings leave one by one. Leaving her along with her father. At only 10 her father also leaves never to return. I couldn't imagine being 10 years old just left there to fend for yourself. That must of been traumatizing! However, Kya took it in with good stride. From a very early age, she was very intelligent. She knew the ways of the marsh and how to take care of herself- mostly because her family didn't. 

What boggled my mind is that no one in the town ever tried to help her and just pushed her to the side and mocked her. The only two people who took the time to help her was Jumpin' and Mabel - an African American couple. They helped feed and clothe her. Mabel was there for advice. I think without them, Kya would have never survived. 

Tate and Kya. First love.... They were just adorable. They kind of reminded me of Gil and Sarah from CSI: Las Vegas. Their friendship turned to love. They were both into the marsh, it's wildlife and marine life. He also taught her to read- and I found that to be commendable. 

Chris - oh Chris. I didn't like him one bit from the start. I knew he was up to no good when he met Kya. First off he wanted to have sex with her very shortly after dating. This was a big red flag. Secondly, he never wanted her to leave the marsh and meet his family or friends. Another red flag. Let's just say he had it coming when he died - or was he murdered? 


Woah, the atmosphere of this book is epic. I swear Delia lived there right with Kya. Delia was very talented in detailing everything about the marsh. She really did do her research - and it showed. I learned more about the Marsh in this book than from an ecological book! 

Sand keeps secrets better than mud.
— Kya

Final Thoughts

First off, I would have never guessed this was Delia's first book. It feels like she has been writing for a very long time. She is definitely talented! 

Secondly, this book was a little slow moving. I wouldn't recommend reading this very fast. It's a book you need to read slowly and take everything in. Also, the major points of the story take time to develop. Usually, I don't like it when the story moves slowly, however, the way Delia wrote just grabbed me. I was immersed in the story and couldn't put the book down. 

I liked that the murder mystery in the book was not the main part. Most of the book was more about Kya and her growing up in the marsh. I really enjoyed the court scenes when Kya was put on trial for Chris murder. I felt it was very accurate at that particular time. 

This was very much a coming of age story. This story also shows how we are shaped as adults by how we were raised. I honestly think Kya would have never been able to live with civilization. She never knew anything other than the marsh. 

This story also reminded me to appreciate what you have. Kya, having nothing was able to make a life for herself. She was able to become a best selling author- from her shack of all places. This was a very emotional and moving story. It will definitely be on my top favorites of the year!

Would I Recommend? 

Yes. However, I don't think it's for everyone. Like I mentioned, it is a very slow moving story and some may not like that aspect. 


Have you ever been to a small town in the south like Barkley Cove? We have marshes here in FL but they are not as thick as the one's I have seen in Louisiana. 

I hope you are all having a wonderful week! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

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