Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

Book - 2018
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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."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, G.P. Putnam's Sons,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735219090
Characteristics: 370 pages : map
370 pages : map
370 pages : map
370 pages : map
370 pages : map


From Library Staff

Read in November. Rated 5 stars.

debwalker Dec 12, 2018

And in the news (December 12, 2018) - Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine will produce a film adaptation of Delia Owens's bestselling novel. She knows how to pick 'em!

From the critics

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This is indeed chick-lit reading. It is difficult to suspend my disbelief in the novel that assumes a 10 year old could be abandoned by an American town to live alone in the marshes. It is also impossible to believe that the grandparents or elder siblings would not have come back to check on the younger ones. It was a whimsical story with a few dark turns and a contrived murder trial that really makes this story jump the shark. Ok for beach reading but i would not recommend to someone looking for a good book.

Jan 24, 2020

Recommended by Sandy Bowler

Jan 23, 2020


Jan 21, 2020

The story isn't very complex but I was sucked in after about 75 pages. Also, it's a great story for this moment in #MeToo time. I don't read much fiction now, but I'm guessing it's mostly a chick novel.

Jan 20, 2020

As of 01/20/20 there were 251 people waiting for this book, and for good reason. I came across it in The Lucky Day collection at Copley. Check there frequently if you don’t want to wait and perhaps skip the line. If not, buy it. It’s that good. The story is not without some flaws. Some of it was quite a stretch actually. The takeaway question brought up towards the end was a pause for reflection. Do we exclude people because we deem them different, or are people different because they’re excluded?

Jan 20, 2020

Wonderful. Heartbreaking, heart encouraging and round again landing on a soft spot for the heart. A book to re-read once a year, when you are aching for a touch of the Southern warm evenings to fill your soul.

ontherideau Jan 19, 2020

Professional detail beautifully written. I had to keep reminding myself Kya is just a fictional character.

Jan 18, 2020

There was so much hoopla about this novel, that I read it with trepidation. All too often the biggest sellers are the biggest trash. I tried to like it, but I could not. The only way one could believe in this book is to regard it as a fairy tale, complete with a big bad wolf. Are we supposed to believe that a 7 year old girl could survive on her own in a hostile marsh land environment? That an abusive father and an air in the clouds mother taught her enough that she is a better naturalist than people with education? That a young man teaches her the alphabet and rudimentary words and she becomes a published woman of letters? That the truant officer allows her to never go to school? That social services ignores her? That the stereotypical man and woman of color are the only "human beings" in the town? I was just about to quit because I was wondering how she could live on the land without paying any taxes. Wouldn't you know, suddenly she has the sophistication to check on a deed and she has enough money to pay for 30 years of back taxes. And of course, no "popular" novel can be successful without turning into a romance. She could not live her life of published expert without falling in love with a predatory man. If she is smart enough to publish books, we are to believe that her years of isolation and abandonment has destroyed her judgment. Sorry, this first time novelist cannot have it both ways. Of course her prince comes back and they live happily ever after - end of fairy tale. Actually the only parts of the book I like were some of the passages about nature and the ending. Sorry, but I cannot recommend this book. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Raindancer Jan 17, 2020

My top pick for 2019 is the story of the wild and free spirited Kya. Kya lives an isolated existence in the marsh land of the North Carolina coast. She becomes so intertwined with her environment that the environment becomes both her solace and her education. As a nature enthusiast I love the detailed descriptions of the flora and fauna of the salt marshes. A reflection of the author's (Delia Owens) background as a wildlife scientist. The novel has elements of mystery (the story begins with the discovery of a body in the Marsh lands) romance and even a courtroom thriller interlude. It is a beautiful yet haunting story that completely captivated me.

Jan 11, 2020

I was so disappointed in this book. I'd waited weeks for it after hearing people at work talk about it. It really is only a step above a Nicholas Spark's story and you don't really care that much about any of the characters. I agree with another reviewer here who said it relies completely on backwater southern stereotypes.
It seems the authors was more intent on showing you she'd done her research on the ecosystem of the area rather than developing the characters and writing a plausible story. It often reads more as a term paper than a novel.

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Age Suitability

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Oct 31, 2019

t3485tank thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Sep 19, 2019

AliceInWonderbread thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Aug 07, 2019

nherrera61 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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Jun 24, 2019

“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.”

Jun 24, 2019

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

Jun 24, 2019

“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.”


Add a Summary
Dec 30, 2019

The novel’s main narrative opens in the marshland near the fictional town of Barkley Cove, North Carolina. Seven-year-old Catherine “Kya” Clark lives in a shack in the swamp with her mother, father, and siblings. However, one day, Kya’s mother leaves the shack forever in order to escape the physical abuse inflicted by Kya’s father. Kya’s siblings soon leave on their own as well, leaving only Kya and Pa. Pa spends increasingly more time away from the shack over the years, and when Kya is about ten years old, Pa leaves forever. Kya has become thoroughly self-sufficient by this time, living on the land and occasionally trading in town for necessary supplies.

When Kya is 14 years old, a kind local boy named Tate Walker begins to visit Kya, and he teaches her how to read. He is about four years older than Kya. He also gives Kya his old textbooks from school. When Kya is 15 years old, she and Tate fall in love, but Tate insists that they do not have sex until Kya is older. Tate soon leaves for college, and although he promises to love and remember Kya, Kya feels abandoned. When Kya is 19 years old, she suddenly becomes attracted to a young local man named Chase Andrews. Chase begins visiting her often. Chase says that he loves her and is eager to have sex with her. Kya refuses at first, but after about a year, she consents to sex.

Tate eventually returns to Barkley Cove in order to perform scientific research on the marshland. He visits Kya and asks for forgiveness, but she refuses to take him back. Tate sees that Kya has performed much of her own research on the marshland, and he urges Kya to submit it to publishers. Tate also warns Kya that Chase is a dishonest womanizer. One day, Kya sees in the newspaper that Chase has become engaged to someone else. She is heartbroken. Later, she submits her research to publishers, and when she is 22 years old, a book of her research is published under her name. Kya’s brother Jodie sees the book in a store and returns to the swamp to reconnect with Kya. Jodie encourages Kya to give Tate another chance.

Chase eventually visits Kya and says that he wants to continue his relationship with her, despite the fact that he is married to someone else. When Kya refuses him, Chase tries to rape her. She hits him and escapes. Kya realizes that because Chase is such a popular member of the town, and because she is an outcast for living in the swamp, she has no recourse. One day, in October of 1969, Chase’s body is found near the swamp. He appears to have fallen—or possibly have been pushed—out of a fire watchtower. The sheriff investigates and arrests Kya. However, the evidence is inconclusive and circumstantial, and Kya is acquitted. She and Tate declare their love for each other, and they live together in the swamp. Kya continues her career as a naturalist, and Tate continues his career as a researcher. Kya dies at age 64, after which Tate finds evidence that seems to prove that Kya killed Chase. He disposes of the evidence so that no one will ever find it.


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