Book Review : Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Genre : Fiction, Mystery
Page : 384 pages
Published : 14th August 2018


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.


“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

Judging from the cover, I thought this was a heartfelt fiction. Then, I took a glance on Goodreads where it clearly stated:

M Y S T E R Y

Even before reading the book, it has hooked me from the moment I knew about the book. Everything about the book excites me! The beautiful cover, the shocking genre, followed by the intriguing plot summary.

Then I thought – Why not? I have already love the book before I start.

Let me sums this book in one sentence.

A heartfelt coming of age story with a slight blend of mystery.

This book tells the coming of age story of a young girl named Kya. Who in the following years known as the Marsh Girl. Loneliness has been her friends since forever- as well as the sand and the gulls. No one knew the marsh as well as Kya.

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

Where The Crawdads Sing made a wonderful job in describing Kya’s life journey. From the moment she appeared on the story, the book has provide a deep and eerie description of the marsh. This book captured and unravel a lot of things on the marsh. The beauty and richness it holds for those who loves and understand the wild and the unthinkable harsh reality living in the marsh. I love how the book always describe Kya and the marsh as one. Inseparable. No matter where you turn to, there’s always rich context about the marsh.

Just like the marsh, Kya keeps many things to herself. The wild and her emotion. Kya’s character is mold and shaped by the wildness around her and the abandonment she is very familiar with from the people she trust and love.

Abandonment that lead her to live the marsh alone.

As a result this story has a complete mixture of hollowness and loneliness which eventually turns to be more complicated with estrangement and prejudiced add on later in the story. However, never stop believing that her mother will return to the marsh, Kya keep on living even if it means getting out of everybody’s sight.

But then, getting out of everybody’s sight is not enough. People love to judge. And Kya can’t stop people from talking. The weird Marsh Girl.

Kya’s emotion and journey is what makes the book heartfelt to read. I read her struggles, her never-ending spirit and her independence and her understanding nature that eventually woo me to love her.

Aside from the marsh, this book also plays with emotions told in a subtle way. I surely love the story and emotions the books are trying to convey but find myself to feel slightly ajar from the emotion. Yes, I know what Kya went to in her life and I for sure admire her perseverance, know how she felt and sometimes can’t stop myself from feeling the same emotion as Kya. However, there’s not enough feels to trigger the emotions frequently. Heartfelt but not that heart-wrenching to trigger your tears.

But I am so in love with the story.

I love books that provide relatable story about life. And this book give just that.

Where The Crawdads Sing also conveys a lot from society. From how the towns people talk, how do they judge others from the outer appearance and the opinion of others and also, their biased prejudiced towards people that are different – in this case, Kya.

Because this is a coming of age story, this book pampers readers with a slight romance to complete Kya’s venture in life- which is something I expect (from the summary that clearly written romance are waiting) and unexpected at the same time.

I do not read too much romance and I am definitely not a romance-guru but I thought the romance is surprisingly good!

It’s written beautifully on how Kya met her love interest, how they keep in touch since then and eventually to have deeper bonds.

“A pure love romance that transform into a mature love.”

And the development process to the mature love is worth the read.

“His dad had told him many times that the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.”

Ain’t it sweet? There’s many lines of Kya’s romance but this is my favourite statement of all.

Of course, since it’s Kya we are talking about— having to love someone warmth her and at the same time, the endless hurdles in romance hurt her. Just remember, this is not a damsel in distress story where the girl’s life will be easier once he met the guy.

Prepare for the roller coaster ride in Kya’s romance.

Aside from romance, this book also writes- scratch that. Kya also writes poetry! So you may expect to read poetry in the book.

Did I mention how genius Kya is?

She learned to know the marsh by herself— the creatures, the wild, the routes, everything! self-learner from the very young age and grow up to be an intelligent adult.

Which is why, this book is very knowledgeable. Especially about the wild creatures. A detailed explanation about animals Kya’s found in the marsh.

Each species of firefly has its own language of flashes. As Kya watched, some females signed dot, dot, dot, dash, flying a zigzag dance, while others flashed dash, dash, dot in a different dance pattern. The males, of course, knew the signals of their species and flew only to those females.

Above are just an excerpt of many wild creatures being describe in the book.

Since Kya lives alone among the wilds, she frequently understand human by comparing human to wild creatures by their habit. However, I’m not that fond of the creatures description in the book. I find it a little bit difficult for me to understand and digest the context. Yes, I know I’m not that smart. 

To maker it even more unique from other coming of age story, there’s mystery!

Basically, the book takes us to read Kya’s life venture while at the same time, provide readers the improvement of the mystery in the current timeline. 

The mystery’s are not too dominant for the book. Not until few chapters before the book ends.

Just like how the rest of the book goes—calm and sure, the mystery in the book also told in a calm way. However, you could feel the tension rising — my bloodline rising to be exact and the emotions as well as the feels when readers are in the process of the moment of truth from the mystery. In this part, unlike the parts before, you will undoubtedly feel stronger emotions since it’s the climax of the book.

Overall, this book has every genre you wished to read in a book. Coming of age with slight romance and mystery. I never read something so full in a mystery. Like the complete Kya’s life adventure with uncountable heartbreak she has to faced. I read Kya’s character growing up and feel for her deeply when she’s tangled in the mystery.

I very much love the story. How many stories we read about a young girl living and struggling alone in the wild? Abandoned and unloved with all the prejudiced she has to endure, a possible romance in the future and possible murder mystery case blend together in one story.

It’s unique and a not easily forgotten story.

However, I personally thought the book might be better and great if it describe emotion in more heart-wrenching way. Make readers sympathized and touched. Of course, with not that much description about wild creatures (even though I know, wilderness is the point this book is written) I understand the writer describe the wild and nature to bring a vivid picture in reader’s mind. Going into detailed description is fine but maybe not too overly describe?

Anyway, I would still recommend the books around and definitely have NO regret reading this amazing piece.

“How much do you trade to defeat loneliness?”

Author : Celine

19 thoughts on “Book Review : Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

  1. I’m so grateful for your review, Celine! I keep seeing this book advertised and think… what’s it all about? Is it too over-hyped? Obviously not. It’s going on my TBR list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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