TW: sexual assault, domestic abuse
This book has been all over Bookstagram with mixed reviews. Despite this, I was quite unsure of what to expect, but overall I think this is a clever and unforgettable narrative.
Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya, known locally as the ‘marsh girl’. Her life hasn’t been easy and she has had to find her own way of living, but when the body of Chase Andrews is found and the locals direct suspicion her way, there will be more in store for Kya.
The plot of the novel follows two timelines that will come to converge. One timeline gives us Kya growing up and the struggles that she faces. We follow her as she explores nature, education, survival and relationships (familial and romantic). The other timeline of this novel begins with the discovery of the body of Chase Andrews and follows the investigation into his murder.
Owens uses her descriptive writing to immerse us in this world and I could see the natural settings clearly in my mind as I read. The use of nature in this book is clever and interesting and I loved Kya’s passion for and understanding of her surroundings.
Having chapters set in different years keeps the pace of the novel going as I both wanted to be with Kya growing up, but also wanted to follow the police investigation to find out what had happened to Chase.
That said, it took me a while to get into this novel, but I wanted to keep reading due to the intrigue and my growing attachment to Kya.
Furthermore, one of the amazing things about this narrative is that I felt that I had been with Kya for so long and therefore felt so much for her. I wanted to protect her and it was this care for Kya that compelled me to read and find out what would happen.
I think that many of the characters were well-rounded and I feel that I got to know them and the different sides to their characters. I particularly felt for and really liked Kya and liked the character of Tate too, as well as Jumpin and Mabel.
When I heard that this novel was a kind of romance / murder mystery, I hadn’t expected there to be other issues, such as those in my trigger warning, covered. However, Owens deals carefully with these in her novel and uses them to convey Kya’s situation and position in life. Kya being labelled the ‘Marsh girl’, consequently treated differently, and the effects of this was one of the big issues that this novel looks at and I found this narrative arc moving and thought-provoking.
Without spoilers, the end of this novel filled me with various emotions and made me sit back and think. It is largely because of the ending that this novel will stay with me, but I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the ending.
Overall, I will remember Kya’s story for a long time and the fact that it hit me so emotionally shows what a great novel this is. It may not be for everyone, but to me it was an excellent story and well-crafted novel.