Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Pages: 370
Release Date: August 14, 2018

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live 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.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures. 


Where the Crawdads Sing is disappointing. I’m certainly in the minority when it comes to this novel considering the 4.47 rating on Goodreads based on over a million reviews. Where the Crawdads Sing is an overhyped coming of age story full of clichés and tropes.

One of the only positive aspects about Where the Crawdads Sing is Owens’ writing. It’s beautiful and poetic and clearly describes the beauty of the marsh and surrounding areas. I could showcase quote after quote to illustrate the beauty of Owens’ writing easily.

Kya doesn’t really have a fleshed out personality. Instead, she’s a stereotypical manic pixie dream girl. She was abandoned by her entire family and left to fend for herself in a swamp. She attended school for one day. She was the town pariah and constantly looked down upon. Suddenly, two boys fall head over heels in love with the idea of her because she’s different and offers adventure and mystery.

Most of the novel is rather slow and boring. Readers are subjected to watching Kya just try to survive on her own with little help from others. In Part Two, the timelines jumps around almost every other chapter. It’s confusing at times and completely undercuts big emotional moments. For example, readers learn about a traumatizing experience at the trial. The following chapter details that experience from Kya’s perspective. The emotion and impact of that experience is undercut.

The only other positive aspect of this novel was the ending. I thought it was a satisfying ending, but not enough to redeem all the other issues. So, I’m glad I didn’t DNF the novel.

Overall, Where the Crawdads Sing is an overhyped coming of age story full of tropes and clichés that never read as fully authentic. Despite a satisfying ending, Where the Crawdads Sing is a slow and boring story.


Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? What did you think?

11 thoughts on “Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

  1. Sorry this didn’t work for you. I hate it when I’m the only one in a sea of 4 and 5 star reviews that didn’t like a book, but it happens.😁

  2. ahh I was looking forward to reading this book, but after your review I dont think I want to anymore lol. The manic pixie dream girl trope INFURIATES me so much. I’ve heard not so great things about this book from other reviewers as well. Going to let this pass then. Nontheless, great post, it was really well written ❤

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