Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 5 stars
Kya was 6 years old when her Mother walked out on the family. Over the next few years, each of her siblings followed suit until only Kya was left with her alcoholic, abusive, and negligent father. That is until the day came that he never came home. Kya was left to fend for herself in the isolated marshes outside of the town border without family, means, or an education. Kya must rely on her common sense, the knowledge of nature she gained from growing up on the marsh, and the kindness of a few members of the community. It's an incredibly lonely life; the townspeople ignore her, local children are not allowed to play with her, and most people don't seem to be concerned that no one is taking care of her. Despite her circumstances, somehow Kya triumphs over adversity.
Where the Crawdads Sing has received tremendous acclaim and buzz since before its release. Normally that is enough to make me dread reading a book; most often I find books like this to be overly hyped. In this case, every single one of the positive reviews is deserved. Owens' debut novel is a triumph. Where the Crawdads Sing is atmospheric, well written, and poignant. The prose is beautifully lyrical and the imagery is absolutely gorgeous. It's the kind of book that completely takes hold of your senses while reading it, until you lose complete track of your surroundings. This book has it all: romance, nature, adversity, family drama, a protagonist you want to succeed, and even a murder mystery. I strongly recommend Where the Crawdads Sing to anyone that enjoys literary fiction, especially if you love coming of age stories or historical fiction.