By Nevaeh Williams
Silt Branch Library

In “Where the Crawdads Sing”, Kya is a child raised by the marsh. Abandoned by her mother and siblings as a little girl and left with an alcoholic father, she learns to hide among the reeds and live with the creatures of the wild. 

Labeled as “the marsh girl,” Kya becomes a legend in the neighboring towns. Outcast and solitary, her interaction with people is limited and unpleasant until she falls in love, expanding her world and experiencing rejection once again from the hands of those she cares about. Kya learns to adapt and rely on the marsh and its creatures to survive and provide her with the love she so desperately craves.

Written in two alternating timelines, the story flows seamlessly between Kya’s childhood and the mystery of a murdered man. Author Delia Owens’ writing is smooth and exquisite, blending the transition between the two different stories and connecting them in startling ways. She takes a place commonly seen as dark and disgusting and transforms it into a thing of beauty, similar to how Kya, an emblem of the marsh, is transformed in the eyes of the townspeople as the book progresses. 

At the same time that she imbues Kya and each marsh creature with meaning and delicate importance, Owens spins an intriguing mystery that leaves you questioning the culprit, just when you think you had it all figured out. 

Despite the picturesque writing style, the plot could have been a little more complex. The characters weren’t quite believable or nuanced enough, and as such, didn’t fully sell the storyline and plot twists. In the end, I was left wanting and disappointed. The story built up in suspense and intrigue, all coming to a climax that should’ve been compelling and explosive but instead was lackluster and anticlimactic. 

Despite its flaws, the book was fascinating and well worth the read. Even though the story’s pace could have been a bit faster and more intricate, the beautiful writing style and emphasis on the marsh managed to compensate and keep the reader entranced in Kya’s strange world. Owens’ instills an appreciation for the unique setting in an audience that has never seen the marsh look like this before. 

I would recommend this book to anyone with an appreciation for nature, good storytelling and beauty, as well as anyone who is looking for a bit of mystery threaded into their story. 

Owens has a way with words that is rarely seen, especially in a debut novel. It is worth the read, especially since the live-action movie is now in theaters. I thoroughly enjoyed Kya’s story and looked forward to seeing it come to life. As everyone knows, the book is always better, so I would suggest reading the book before seeing the movie. “Where the Crawdads Sing” is suspenseful and unique and will keep you hooked until the very last page.

“‘Recommended Reading’ is a collaboration between The Sopris Sun and the Garfield County Public Libraries District, highlighting important literature available at local libraries.”

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