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The Book of the Summer: Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing, a novel written by Delila Owens, is a must read for romantics, murder mystery enthusiasts, nature finatics, and southern bells. This engrossing story and developing film pertains to a girl named Kya, or in other words, the “Marsh Girl,” who lives in a run down shack close to a small town in North Carolina. Nearly all of her life, Kya experiences prejudice by the local townspeople who perceive her as a dirty, wild creature. After her family abandons her, Kya learns to be independent and self-sufficient. Although she is able to fend for herself, Kya experiences unwavering loneliness and an aching desire for love.

Kya’s beauty catches the eyes of two men in town. Kya becomes intimately involved with Tate and Chase, but regrets trusting one of them. When Chase Andrews, the typical good looking jock, is discovered dead in the marshes, Kya quickly becomes the prime suspect. After this discovery, the novel intensifies dramatically and switches between the murder mystery and her current life. Having an interest in law, I found the court scenes very enthralling. Not only does Owens demonstrate her experience in the legal system, but also in nature and biology.

Owens’ poetic writing adds a beautiful touch in Where the Crawdads Sing. Kya’s deep appreciation for nature is exemplified through Owen's detailed descriptions of the science behind wildlife. This aspect of the story allows the readers to experience the many hidden wonders of the Marsh through imagery and Kya’s four senses. Contrary to what the townsfolk say, Kya’s profound knowledge on animals and biology proves that she is very bright. Her love for the Marsh not only keeps her sane, but also helps her make a living for herself.

Overall, I highly recommend this novel; it was truly hard to put down. Kya’s character is very complex and three dimensional. Owens' writing makes us laugh, cry streams of tears, and heat up in anger. While her upbringing may be different than many, Kya is more similar to us than we think, and experiences relatable emotions such as heartbreak, betrayal, and extreme isolation. Kya demonstrates that even when all of the odds are stacked against her, she can overcome challenges and prove everyone wrong. But here is the crucial question: did she kill Chase Andrews? Is she guilty or innocent?

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