Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Reading a pretty hyped up book has its own disadvantages, mainly the pressure to like it because everyone else did. But did Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens pass the test for me? Let’s get on to the book review shall we?

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? How did you like it? Which hyped book worked well for you? And which didn't? Let us talk. Click To Tweet

About the book

Where the Crawdads Sing Book cover

Book Name: Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Genre: Fiction – Romance; Thriller

Characters: Kya Clark, Tate Walker, Jumpin’ and Mable, Chase Andrews

Setting: Barkley Cove, North CarolinaThe USA

Plot Summary

The book begins when six year old Kya watches her mother leave their shack and her five children with her drunk, violent and often absent father. Soon one by one her siblings also flee, as does her father eventually, leaving her behind to fend for herself.

She attends the school for a day, forced by the authorities and tempted by the meal, but realizes she would be hungry rather than be laughed at. When Kya learns to accept her loneliness, two boys enter her life.

One of them teaches her to read and discover more about the marsh life and another shows what her life could be if she were a “normal” girl. And to make things worse, both of them abandon her at some point, just like her family.

Fast forward to 1969, when they recover a local athlete, Chase Andrews’ body near the marsh. Without much evidence, they arrest Kya when the villagers come to know Chase and Kya were closer to each other than they all thought.

Why was Kya arrested and who murdered Chase? What happens to Kya forms the rest of the story in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Book review

In this historical fiction, there are two timelines – one following six year old Kya’s life from 1952 and the other follows Chase’s murder investigation in 1969. There are vast differences in the writing styles, almost like they were written by two authors.

But I think that worked, because for me they felt like they were different genres (a coming of age romance and a murder/legal thriller). And I am sure fans of both the genres would have something for them.

It is apparent that Delia Owens knows the marshland very well. And her writing ensures the reader gets transported to the wetlands themselves. Once I suspended the skepticism about a kid living all alone, I really liked Kya and her will to survive everything that life throws her way.

I loved how Where the Crawdads Sing spoke of several themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism. And yet made it all about hope and love.

The romance part was a tiny bit melodramatic. But when you are 20 something everyone is allowed to be heart broken and decide to “never love anyone ever again”. There were quite a number of red herring and I was at a point convinced someone particular was the murderer. But surprisingly they were not!

What worked for me

  • Where the Crawdads Sing works mainly for Owen’s writing and her ability to grasp the reader’s attention – be it the romance or the court room drama!
  • Kya herself is an unique character and she will be cherished as one of the strong female literary characters in my mind.
  • Despite talking about so many serious themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism, it is hope and positivity that I ended up feeling.

What may have been better

  • The first part contains a lot of descriptive writing, so if you are not into those type of books be warned.
  • Also a warning people who are not into alternative timelines.

Bottom line

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of those books that survived the hype and came through for me. I liked the author’s writing style and her character building. Catch Where the Crawdads Sing before the movie comes out!

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Let’s chat

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? How did you like it? Which hyped book worked well for you? And which didn’t? Let us talk.



    I loved this book. A LOT!
    Did you read up on the controversy surrounding the author?

    • Gayathri

      Oh that is new to me. A link please?


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Gayathri has been reviewing books since 2010. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she works as a writer and a digital marketer. Head over to meet me!