Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In 'Where the Crawdads Sing', Delia Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens's debut novel 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. A Dewey Diva Pick
Publisher: New York (State) :, Putnam,, 2018
ISBN: 9780735219090
Characteristics: 368 pages ;,2 x 15 cm


From Library Staff

wendybird Feb 18, 2020

I'm always SO pleased when I get off my high "librarian" horse and read an item that has been hanging around the Bestseller Lists forever (in this case, nearly a year), and am impressed with the writing, the plot, and just everything about a book. Certainly this is the case with 2019 no... Read More »

Cindy's Staff Pick

September 2018

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
CRRL_JoyO Aug 04, 2020

This bittersweet story of a young girl, abandoned by almost everyone, and how she makes a life in the marshland of North Carolina, is heartbreaking and beautiful.

Aug 04, 2020

Beautifully written novel! The beginning of the book was a little slow for me and was a little difficult to read, however, I slowly became engulfed in the story and her life in the marsh! Truly so well written and an amazing novel.

Aug 01, 2020

This was a good book.

Jul 30, 2020

Contrary to some of the other readers/reviewers, I thought this book was a wonderfully written, very good book! The plot is good and all characters and plot are well developed. The main character/heroine is one that is easily liked/loved. It was very easy to get emotionally involved, For several reasons, I can see why it has been on the best seller lists so long. One of the best books I have read.

Jul 30, 2020

This book was great! It kept me in suspense of who killed the young man. It gave great details of what the girl went through growing up and how it shaped her. The author did a good job capturing the interest of the reader.

Jul 29, 2020

good reading!

Jul 24, 2020

I had to keep reading to see what would happen to poor Kya. I went through so many emotions reading this! Although it’s an enjoyable read, I don’t see the hype. Perhaps it’s for the wild ones, beyond yonder where the crawdads sing. :)

IndyPL_CarolS Jul 21, 2020

I really enjoyed this book. It was about a young girl who is abandoned by her mother and father. It was a page turner about the girl's (Kya) coming of age , survival all alone in the marsh, and murder. I really loved the description of the marsh. I couldn't put it down. I also liked the surprise ending. I definitely recommend this book.

Jul 19, 2020

As good as it gets.

Jul 19, 2020

Right from the start, the story comes across as a bit far-fetched with the idea of a six year-old child surviving in the marsh with virtually no assistance from her father. Although Kya is unable to read or remember her sibling’s ages, she is somehow able to drive a boat, boil grits, and bake cornbread for herself. Perhaps children of her age are actually smarter than I imagine them to be, but if my six year-old self were in her situation, I’d curl up on the ground and cry until a social worker found me. Yet, despite my skepticism, I was still intrigued enough by her ways of survival to keep on reading.
The author’s biggest strength is undoubtedly her ability to describe nature, flexing her knowledge of the marsh’s inhabitants and biology through beautiful prose. Unfortunately, these descriptions of nature mainly appear in Kya’s scenes, leaving the chapters focusing on the sheriff and his deputy to feel bland in comparison. The scenes of nature subside in the last portion of the story, which features a trial that basically, and repeatedly, emphasizes the idea of a lack of evidence through back-and-forth dialogue. At the end of the novel, I was feeling a bit underwhelmed, even with the supposed twist. I can’t help but feel as though the author’s inspiration for this novel was wholly based on a fantasy of living in the wild, with the murder plot being added in later for increased appeal towards readers.
I still mainly enjoyed the story, savoring Kya’s sweet moments with Tate, her family, and others, and pitying the poor girl subjected to a lonely childhood with numerous heartbreaks. This book can be quite sad, and you can’t help but root for Kya as she finds happiness in even the smallest of things.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jun 22, 2020

GreaterChicken thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Feb 04, 2020

ellysaurus thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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


Add a Quote
Jan 30, 2020

Tate’s father told him many times, “The definition of a real man is one who cries with shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.”
Mabel to Kya:”Ya need some girlfriends hon, cause they’re forever. Without a vow, a clutch of women is the most tender, most tough place on earth”

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.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at WPPL

To Top