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Where the Crawdads Sing

Written by: Delia Owens
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,180 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

A Reese's Book Club + Hello Sunshine on Audible Pick

"I can't even express in words how much I love this book...the way it’s performed on Audible just took me right back to my long summers in Tennessee. This story has a special place in my heart - I didn’t want it to end." (Reese Witherspoon) 

"Painfully beautiful." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver." (Bustle)

How long can you protect your heart?

For years, rumors 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. 

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

©2018 Delia Owens (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Narrator Cassandra Campbell serves up a bushel of Carolina accents in this debut novel by nature writer Delia Owens. Campbell's accents give the mix of classes and regions in the story the same realistic detail Owens provides for the marsh.... Prepare to be enchanted and haunted." (AudioFile)

"A lush debut; Owens delivers her mystery wrapped in gorgeous, lyrical prose." (Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight)  

“A painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature.... Owens here surveys the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast through the eyes of an abandoned child. And in her isolation that child makes us open our own eyes to the secret wonders - and dangers - of her private world.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Steeped in the rhythms and shadows of the coastal marshes of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, this fierce and hauntingly beautiful novel centers on.... Kya’s heartbreaking story of learning to trust human connections, intertwine[d] with a gripping murder mystery, revealing savage truths. An astonishing debut.” (People)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Highly recommend!

I started this audiobook to pass the time while stuck in traffic - but within no time I was listening to it in every spare moment I got. Excellent story all the way through!

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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My heart ached and soared while listening to this

I heard about this book through Reese Witherspoon’s book list and decided to download as audio book after reading reviews about the narration. Absolutely the right decision.
This is by far the best audio book I have ever listened to. The narration was brilliant and made this story come alive. I was moved to tears so many times throughout this novel. Her innocence, loneliness and resiliency were powerful. I really did not want this one to end.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim
  • 2018-09-19

Disappointed

Not going to call this a mystery: it is only a mystery if you are a turnip. The foreshadowing is so heavy handed I felt like I got clipped upside the head. There was some lovely writing in this book and the main plot line had great potential but I was so fed up with the main character I could have howled in protest. This was horrifically overwritten as if the author was afraid the reader would be, well, a turnip. On the plus side, I enjoyed the description of the marsh and the wildlife but I am afraid all of two legged mammals in the novel were about as subtle as cartoons. Made for a very jarring read with the lovely layered marsh as a background and great galumphing cartoon figures running around all over it.
#Audible1

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story even though it was predictable

I didn’t like the narrators attempt of a southern accent of the characters but the story was entertaining. The marsh was described beautifully and it’s inhabitants without mention of mosquitoes.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A Harlequin Romance, with Zoology Thrown In

As most reviewers note, the story takes place in a marsh on the North Carolina coast, in the mid-20th century.
The descriptions of the marsh and the many creatures that live in it are beautifully and lovingly rendered. And the story, about small girl who lives alone in the marsh from about nine years of age, begins with great promise. But all too soon the book becomes a Harlequin Romance, with random zoology lectures thrown in (and one brief physics lecture also). The female hero is hauntingly beautiful and absurdly well accomplished. At ten years old, after her family have abandoned her one by one, she learns to earn a living digging mussels and smoking fish. Thereafter, this ten year old grows up by literally by herself in the marsh. Despite having exactly one day of schooling in her life, her first boyfried teaches her to read over a few weeks one spring when she is 14. By the end of the summer she is reading whole biology textbooks. At 22 she publishes not one, but two zoology books (shell fish; birds) that she has illustrated with her own water colours and oils. Not bad for a girl who has lived essentially in isolation, with no schooling, all her life.

But the worst part is her two romances. This self-confident and supremely accomplished great beauty has romances with two very handsome men, one a scholar and the other just rich. By the time the girl reaches her teens she has developed a healthy interest in clothing and makeup, and she manages to have a beautiful wardrobe (albeit a somewhat used one) and even some lipstick which, ten years after her mother left home, can still be used. In the Harlequin vein, the relationships have a lot of promise of sex, but much more chastity. People cuss a lot, but only very rarely do we hear the actual words. Of course, her affairs with the two man-boys intersect, and she has to choose the right one. You will have to listen yourself to see if she makes the right choice.

I can't believe this book would have received the attention it has received had it not been recommended by famous people.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful Story Wonderfully Narrated

I really enjoyed this book and how it was narrated. The pace allowed me to visualize the story and the voices made the characters clear. I loved the unfolding of Kaiya’s life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I stayed up half the night!

I could not stop listening to this story. It was beautiful, heart wrenching, intriguing and the characters were intricate and expressive. I loved the layered plots that unfolded like a great who done it, Leaving you searching for clues and trying to figure out what happened until the very end. A beautiful love story, a murder mystery, and a triumph all rolled into one great novel. I will be looking for more stories from this author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I loved every moment of this book<br />

It's been awhile since a book made me cry out loud. Kya had me cheering for her from the start, and crying with pride for her every step of the way. this book did not disappoint me in any way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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amazing but sad even when its happy

it was an excellent book, amazing unique character, unique setting and keeps you on your toes. could have been shorter but I can appreciate that much of the embellishing was to provide a really strong sense of the setting. It just became tiring at later high-stakes parts of the book. I was getting so stressed that I had to google how it ended ( I have NEVER done that) because the character goes through so much and life is not fair or kind to her, therefore I needed to be prepared regardless of the outcome for her. I felt quite deflated at the low points and the shiny happy parts are few and far between. but still beautiful and pulls you right into the marshes. it's a vivid picture the author presents of the environment and the time period and the narrator delivers the story and characters so well. maybe my mistake was listening to it on my commute, it might be better done in the evening or another leisurely time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved It

I loved it! the story was so intriguing and unique. The performance was astounding. I couldn't stop listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-05-30

I hope the movie is better...

I read the reviews before choosing this book and after finishing it I wonder if we all read the same book. While the nature descriptions were nice to listen to, the story was incredibly unrealistic and at times cheap YA. The ending was seen from a mile away and so unfulfilling. I just cannot believe it’s been so well received. Maybe this time I can finally say the movie was better than the book...I won’t hold my breath.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Ashten
  • 2019-05-25

Boring

I heard rave reviews about this book so I was very excited to read it. I was disappointed. It was boring, predictable and the twist wasn’t even a twist at all.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Wes
  • 2019-05-17

So much to like... but a little cheesy.

Overall, the writing was solid. However, there are more than a few cheesy parts, and the main character is over the top. Ultimately, I felt that virtually all of the characters were one sided but I enjoyed listening to the narrative. The performance was great.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Christy
  • 2019-04-21

Couldn’t finish it

I got this book through audible based solely on the good reviews I heard about it. Was only able to listen to about 15 minutes before I completely gave it. It was so boring and stupid and I was so sorry I didn’t read all the reviews before I bothered. I really don’t see why so many people liked it.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Denise
  • 2019-04-20

crawdads sing

story was pretty unbelievable.: an abandoned 7yr old raises herself. overly dramatic and depressing. performance flat: whispery falsetto,.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Deb P/B. K. Barr
  • Chicago, IL
  • 2019-04-21

Couldn’t connect with the lead character

Thin story line with first significant plot twist halfway through the book. Main character was not believable living alone since a small child (never any health issues and she grew up gorgeous and seemingly healthy?) He silence and lack of communication at important times with other characters frustrated me. Played too much the martyr. Investigation was not believable - went to court with no substantial evidence? What happened to the Grand Jury trial to determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial? It was however beautifully written as far as imagery.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott Goldstein
  • 2019-04-21

Whatever became of book editors?

Constant repetitive story beats. Over flowery language. A very dull piece of work masquerading as literature. Don’t believe the hype

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-04-18

What’s the hype?

It was too excruciating to listen to. The reader put too much of her own emotions into reading.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Melster
  • 2019-04-18

Boring, incessant, predictable

Just an awful book...so boring, and every character was so numbly predictable I couldn’t wait for this story to end. I have lived in North Carolina for over 20 years and no one speaks the way the author made these southerners speak, and Kya’s voice was the same incessant whining from childhood to adulthood. I am blown away by all of the positive reviews and only
finished the book because I was waiting for it to MAYBE get better and it never did... because this was a doozie from start to finish.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • SamanthaG
  • Marietta GA
  • 2018-12-20

I KNEW from the title that this book wasn't for me

...but I wasted a credit on it anyway because it was a choice for Reese Witherspoon's book club and the preponderance of 5-star ratings, which I just don't understand. The premise strains belief; Kya's family abandons her as a child - her father, mother, older sisters and older brother leave her to her own devices in a decrepit shack in the marsh. But somehow, without help, she manages. Her relationship with Chase also doesn't ring true, but that's a necessary part of the story. The writing is pat and cliched.
The narration of dialog was awful - very exaggerated and I would say lower class speech, even for the judge and lawyers, who would have been educated and speak with a more scholarly dialect, but the narrator doesn't seem to know the difference. She must not be from these parts or she would know better. Her delivery of the narrative parts of the book was fine and unaccented. Kya's voice never develops any grown-up confidence, even after she becomes a mostly self-educated author of scientific books and and an authority on marsh wildlife; it remains shy and child-like.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2019-05-28

Sing with the marshgirl

Delia Owens describes the marsh so well and this story of the marsh girl is so realistic you may think it's a true story. All characters are real, living people you may end breathing with them.