Book Review: Where The Crawdad’s Sing

It’s happening! Four reviews in four days to finally catch up on my October reviews. Starting with… Where The Crawdad’s Sing!


Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pub Date: July 10, 2018
FLW Rating: 4.5/5

Where the Crawdad’s Sing is a beautiful atmospheric novel demonstrating the strength of a young girl- the novel’s proagonist, Kya. Before reading it all I knew was that ‘people liked it’ as a general statement. Ultimately I enjoyed this novel and all of its complexities, but something about the writing held me more at bay than I’ve felt in similar novels.

Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya, a young girl at the outset of the novel living in the marshlands in coastal North Carolina. As the story continues, Kya grows older, and is left by her family to fend for herself and make her way in life. When a man from the town is found dead, Kya becomes a suspect and her whole life is analyzed through the lens of those living in town, invoking an strong emotional response from everyone involved in the case.

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What I think most defines this book is its subtlety. In a recent post I compared Kya to Wavy of All The Ugly and Wonderful Things and Leni of The Great Alonebut the biggest difference to me is that the other two novels were a bit in your face with emotions and tragedies, whereas Kya’s strength always felt understated.  I enjoyed this aspect and think this was the strength of the book. I felt like “clues” were slowly being conveyed throughout the course of the book, so I kept having quiet “aha” moments. Nothing dramatic, but I was frequently feeling the emotion of “oh that makes sense in the context” and I kept being amazed at how beautifully these details were being conveyed. Everything about the story felt authentic and real.

To that end, I find that there’s something so powerful in a story about the fate of the helpless laying in the hands of someone who may not understand. While this can be a relatively common theme in modern day literature, I felt like this book was particularly well done.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, except to say that it stays true to both the tone and the theme of subtlety to the past page. There’s nothing worse than an unexpected change of tone, and I thought this book did an amazing job of maintaining the tone while still going out with a bang.

Overall, I highly highly recommend this book. I recommend it to anyone, whether you’re looking for a tear-jerker, a feminist novel, beautiful descriptive scenic writing, or a murder mystery. This truly has it all in perfect balance.