I follow several bloggers on Facebook and Instagram that are homeschool friendly and conservative in their views on life at large. When I see them post about a book, I typically take note. I will head over to the Overdrive app on my iPad and see if the book is available to check out. When I looked up Where the Crawdads Sing, it was unavailable and I put it on hold. I was something like number 700 and there were only 2 copies available. I promptly forgot about the book and moved on. A few months later, I got an email that a book I had put on hold had been automatically checked out for me.

This happens often. I place a book on hold, forget, and am surprised when it is checked out for me. It becomes like a race to see if I will 1. remember the email saying I have a book checked out and 2. find time to read it.

I totally forgot about Where the Crawdads Sing until I got another notification saying my loan was going to expire in three days. Challenge accepted. I started reading on a Friday and finished Sunday afternoon. I love a good murder mystery. This book did not disappoint.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Book Description

The book follows the life of Kya who has been abandoned by her mother and siblings. They all left one by one until it was just Kya and her abusive, alcoholic father. I don’t understand why they didn’t just take her with them, but I suppose that speaks to our own self preservation and inability to think clearly when the victim of trauma and abuse. It is like you are taking actions that are outside of yourself and seem rational at the time.

Kya is left, for all intents and purposes, alone. Her father comes and goes until he just doesn’t come back at all. Kya is resilient. She has learned to drive the boat her father left behind. She learns to forage. She learns to trade with a local merchant who shows pity on her. He and his wife take Kya under their wing as much as they can. You see, they are black and she is white. However, their socioeconomic level unites them more than their races divide them.

The book flip flops back and forth between the present day and following Kya grow from a child to an adult. As Kya grows, she becomes known as “the marsh girl.” She learns about life through her interactions with the creatures of the marsh. A friend of her older brother befriends her and teaches her to read. He is one of few to show her acceptance and happiness.

In the present day (which is 1969), a local football legend, Chase Andrews, is found dead. An investigation is launched to sort out all the rumors surrounding the circumstances of his death. Was it an accident? Was it murder? Is the Marsh Girl involved?

Where the Crawdads Sing has a likeable main character with a story that pulls at your heartstrings. The book is a murder mystery, but also a coming of age story with a touch of romance. The book is beautifully written as it contains a great story as well as vivid pictures of marsh life in the Outer Banks of North Carolina as well as poetry woven throughout.

While I enjoyed reading this book, I do not believe I would recommend it for students. There are triggers involving rape and abuse in the book. The subjects would be too intense, in my opinion, for young teens. The book is not terribly descriptive, but it is enough to make an impact.

The book is 379 pages, was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in August 2018, and has been a #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List.

I checked out a copy via Overdrive (our library’s digital service). You can buy it on Amazon as well. It is available as hardcover, paperback, kindle, and audio book.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate with Amazon. Purchases made through links on this post provide our family with a small commission. Thank you!

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