Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

where the crawdads sing by delia owens book review

Where the Crawdads Sing Synopsis

Note: This review is spoiler-free!

For years, rumours 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.

Why did I pick it?

It’s one of those books that I knew nothing about but that seemed to have had a huge amount of hype on Instagram so the cover was familiar. It was described as a “historical/mystery” I like both of those genres so decided to give it a go.

What I loved about it

I loved the complexity of Kya’s character. More than a historical novel this was much more of a coming of age story. We meet Kya when she is very young and see her negotiate the challenges of being a child, then a teenager and finally a young woman. Seeing her view of the world change as she experiences prejudice, isolation and love is beautifully written.

The court scenes were particularly interesting to me. Instead of seeing the events leading up to the murder and the murder itself, you are presented instead with possible scenarios from both sides. Having the cross-examinations and sum ups was great.

The ending was great for me, perfectly written and very satisfying. The book gives you plenty of clues to this outcome throughout the book, I just hadn’t noticed until the end, which for me is the sign of a well-written mystery novel.

What I loathed about it

So why only 3 stars? For me, it was the pacing. From 20% in to around 60% in, nothing much happens. It’s interesting to learn about the marsh and the creatures living there, and even about Kya’s daily life, but it’s very monotonous. I listened to the audiobook of this novel and I’m glad I did because if I had started with the novel, I don’t think I would have made it to the end, which would have been a shame.

I think in some ways it needs a rebrand. The synopsis and booksellers have this as more of a mystery, and whilst that is how it starts and ends there’s not enough of it for that to be the genre of the book.


If you like mysteries and thrillers this probably isn’t the book for you. But if you like a well-written coming of age story this would certainly hit the spot.

When and where can you can get it

You can purchase Where the Crawdads Sing on Amazon today


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