I get scared to read bestselling and highly recommended books because my expectations are so high. But I went into Where the Crawdads Sing knowing nothing other than it made people cry. Owens didn’t make me cry, but this book is for sure one of my favourites of the year so far!
The book follows the main protagonist Kya, known by everyone else in the town as ‘marsh girl’. The book begins with her mother leaving her and then all her siblings. She goes to school for a day then hides from the authority so she never has to go back and be laughed at. Finally, her father leaves too. She is alone and has to fend for herself. Because she is seldom seen myths develop about her.
She makes money by selling mussels she collects and the coloured town helps out by giving her their old clothes. The love and trust that develops between her and the coloured town are what is missing in the rest of society. It shows that in a time of need some of the purest relationships develop.
During her time on the boat, she sees an old friend of her brothers, Tate. He leaves her feathers, and she leaves some in return. Eventually, he offers to teach her to read and write. Before she drew and labelled what she wanted to her desire. She immerses herself in his old biology books, wanting to know everything about the marsh and nature surrounding her so she can learn to use it to her advantage.
Tate is a little older than Kya and she does not like to leave the Marsh because of previous reactions from the town. Tate is Kya’s primary love interest and their relationship was the purest thing I have ever read. Nonetheless, Tate goes to university and he figures that they won’t be compatible because of the world she lives in. They end up breaking off their relationship. Kya vows to never let anyone into her life again.
Parallel to this narrative we also get the present-day one. One where the most popular boy in the town has been found dead. Was it murder or an accident? The narrative reveals this as it shows Kya’s involvement with the victim. Only on the last few pages do you find who the killer was — and it is an ending you must read! Two incredible secrets are revealed!
I couldn’t put this book down. I picked it up after being in a bit of a slump and it reminded me of the power words could have over me! It truly does deserve all the praise it is getting.
One thing that I disliked while reading was the immense amount of poems that were thrown in. I always hate the awkwardness of thrown in poems. Nonetheless, it was my fault for not appreciating them enough because they have a huge role and purpose. So if you do read this book, pay careful attention to the poems!