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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 (1,956 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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Story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

17 of 18 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

  • Overall
    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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathleen Heine
  • 2019-03-27

Disappointed

Disappointed is how I felt after finishing Where the Crawdads Sing. Kya was the only character fully developed. The character of Chase, the murder victim, was never fully developed. The author revealed never revealed enough about Chase to garner my sympathy for him. Early on Kya presents as an almost feral girl who relates almost solely to nature. She eventually has to reach out to others and forms a bond with Jumpin' and Mabel. Tate managed to bond with Kya over their mutual interest in nature, etc. His character was a little more developed than Chase's but wasn't fully explored. I knew the author is a wildlife scientist but even if I hadn't I could have guessed that she was. I read the book because it was a book club selection but would not have picked it up to read if it wasn't.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Marsha
  • 2019-03-27

horrible accent

This reader was absolutely terrible at her Southern accents...hard to listen to by someone who lives in the south. I liked the story even though it was pretty predictable. I did not like the poetry sections...they rang corny to me.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • G. Lambert
  • North Alabama
  • 2019-03-22

Very tragic and dismal story.

I would rather have spent my time on something else. Reluctantly I stuck with it until the end but it didn't get any better...just more tragic. Good writing and narrator, but I didn't like how tragic it was from cover to cover. i like stories to uplift me, entertain me, not bring me lower.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Marmot
  • 2019-03-19

Made it to the End

A friend of mine recommended this book, and the notion of a story of A Marsh Girl, along with some rich natural history sounded appealing. What I didn’t realize was that this is basically a romance novel with a little mystery thrown in. I found myself groaning at much of the dialogue and the predictable, flat characters. I only gave it three stars because I did enjoy the descriptions of the flora and fauna of the marsh, and I will admit the book had a pretty cool ending. But be forewarned — this is not a literary novel, and it’s over 12 hours long. Good luck with it. I’m just glad it’s over!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Frances K. Franklin
  • Tucson
  • 2019-03-18

Reads like a soap opera

narrator hard to understand. Alamost read all but grew bored. It started out to be very intriguing but it lost my interest,

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Napagal
  • florida
  • 2019-03-11

Finished it! Didn't like it one bit

So many positive reviews, so I guess I am in the minority, but I just thought this was, simply put, ridiculous. I agree 100% with the other reviewer (Violet) Kaia's narration was grating, considering the rest of the narration was not bad. I cringed every time she came on. This entire story and 80% of the characters were just not believable, so far fetched from start to finish.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Cabin No. 10 Press
  • 2019-03-09

Sentimental dribble

Ugh. Realize I’m very much in the minority: Though there are beautiful turns of phrase, the story is thin, barely plausible, and relies on tired stereotypes.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Julianne
  • Petersburg, AK, United States
  • 2019-03-09

zero star for story

although the author has a knack for nature and scenes, this story & the characters were trite & full of cliche. it was difficult to finish.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Paxter
  • New York, NY USA
  • 2019-09-07

From a guy's perspective- this book was BORING...

I honestly don't understand why all the rave reviews. The reviews are what led me to spend my credit on it. As a literature piece in itself, it has great writing. Something your school teacher would mandate you to read, if only for the grammar, the analogies, the descriptive characteristics used. However, it's painstakingly slow and uneventful. You literally start off following a 5 yo girl growing up alone in the marsh until old age, every chapter is literally a new boring year of her life. This story could have been a 1 hour audiobook without all the detailed descriptions on sand, herons, types of water... I wanted to quit literally every chapter but given the reviews, I thought something major was going to happen if I just held on longer. Until, alas.... nothing...

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Andrea Whitis
  • NASHVILLE, TN
  • 2019-09-07

Underwhelmed

This book came highly recommended. I was disappointed and felt the book drug on. It became boring after a bit. I did finish it. However, the worst part for me was the reading. Being from the South, hearing the attempt to use southern slang and general sing-songs rhythm drove me crazy.

14 of 14 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.