Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing

Last updated date: July 16, 2019

DWYM Score
9.3

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We looked at the top 1 Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including The Guardian, Good Reads, New York Journal of Books, Theresa Smith Writes, Kirkus Reviews, The Bibliofile, Traveling Book Junkie, Dear Gentle Bookworm, Baltimore Girl Reads and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

Whether you like a good mystery or simply want to learn more about the history during the late '60s and early '70s, “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is the best fiction for you. Owens has a way of painting a picture in your mind with her words. You'll also love the incredibly detailed characters with unique personalities. In our analysis of 96 expert reviews, the Delia Owens Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing placed 4th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
9.7
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
12,086 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Though set in the 1950s and 60s, Where the Crawdads Sing is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complex-ities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. But these themes will reach a huge audience though the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.
- The Guardian
Owens’ writing is tight, yet sumptuous. It is abundant with descriptive prose and brings the reader straight to the edges of the briny marsh waters, and directly into the mind of the Marsh Girl.
- New York Journal of Books
Where the Crawdads Sing is an exceptional novel. It’s deeply moving, an intricate examination of the connection between a person and the environment they are isolated within.
- Theresa Smith Writes
December 30, 2018 | Full review
Despite some distractions, there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.
- Kirkus Reviews
Where the Crawdads Sing is about resiliency and survival, but also alienation. I loved the part about Kya’s childhood; it made for a unique story line as Kya learns to navigate the world on her own.
- The Bibliofile
March 20, 2019 | Full review
Delia Owens story is so powerful that you can physically sense the loneliness and utter despair felt by Kya. It’s a narrative that makes you think about how you treat others.
- Traveling Book Junkie
February 4, 2019 | Full review
I picked this book up at 7:00 pm and didn’t put it down until 1 am, at which point I had finished the entire thing, cried on at least six occasions, and knew I had added yet another book to my “absolutely recommend” list.
- Dear Gentle Bookworm
January 12, 2019 | Full review
Owens perfectly crafted a novel that is about nothing and about everything. It’s about love, loneliness, humanity, and the wonders of nature. A truly gorgeous read. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you turn the final page.
- Baltimore Girl Reads
What experts didn't like
By now the novel’s weaknesses have become apparent: the monochromatic characterization (good boy Tate, bad boy Chase) and implausibilities (Kya evolves into a polymath—a published writer, artist, and poet), yet the closing twist is perhaps its most memorable oddity.
- Kirkus Reviews
The book is increasingly divorced from reality (the idea that a teenage boy would teach her not only to read but about her period seemed far-fetched, and it goes on from there) and plot events get a bit contrived.
- The Bibliofile
March 20, 2019 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Although this is Delia Owens’ first novel, she long ago distinguished herself as a gifted writer. In the mid-80s, Owens co-wrote with her husband Cry of the Kalahari, which was a best-selling, nonfictional account of traveling and researching Africa’s Kalahari Desert. One of the joys of that book was the Owens’ description of the natural world, and Where the Crawdads Sing is immersed in the natural world as well. The story is set in the 1950s and revolves around a young woman named Kya Clark, who is from extremely rural North Carolina. Known by others as the Marsh Girl, she lives alone in nature—but the draw of other people, and specifically love, brings her into contact with the greater world. This novel has a mystery at its core, but it can be read on a variety of levels. There is great nature writing; there is coming of age; and there is literature. Crawdads is a story lovingly told—one that takes its time in developing its characters and setting, and in developing the story. You’ll want to relax and take your time as well, and when you’re done you will want to talk about it with another reader. – Chris Schluep , Amazon Book Review

Overall Product Rankings

1. R.J. Palacio Wonder
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 10
2. Marc Sullivan Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Alfred A. Knopf The Book Thief
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 11
4. Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Kristin Hannah The Great Alone
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 13
6. Lauren K. Denton The Hideaway
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Rick Riordan Percy Jackson And The Olympians
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 3
8. Leslie Wolf Dawn Girl
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 1
9. Georgia Hunter We Were the Lucky Ones
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 11
10. John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Fiction Books

Although choosing a book can be a very personal experience, the best fiction books are loved by many people. There is nothing like a great story to captivate your attention and imagination and keep you wanting to read more. When you start to discover the fiction genres, you will find they all have several main characteristics in common. Outstanding themes, characters and excellent execution make the top fiction books something that everyone can enjoy.

First, if you aren’t familiar with the fiction genre, let’s explore it. The definition of a fiction book is, “literature comprising works of imaginative narration”. This could be in the form of a novel or short story. There are multiple categories of fiction for readers to discover including adventure story, biographical novel, ethnic fiction, gothic, historical fiction, horror, mystery and science fiction, to name a few. It’s just important to keep in mind that the main characteristic of a fiction book is that it is not a real story, but entirely creatively written.

For those who enjoy a great sci-fi thriller movie or a graphic horror television series, turn your attention to the popular horror fiction or science fiction novels of today. Picture the “Goosebumps” series, “1984” by George Orwell or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. These novels are still famous today and attract new readers every year with their science fiction stories and characters. You will surely find excitement in this sub-genre of fiction.

When you want to read a book that keeps you guessing at the answers, a mystery fiction novel is for you. A phenomenal author is John Grisham. Although his angle is legal writing, most of his books have an excellent element of mystery to make the reader unable to put the book down. For a world-renowned author, turn to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Agatha Christie are others in this genre. Look for their names among others when you need a good mystery to solve.

Young adult is another subcategory of the fiction genre. These books often capture the attention of teenagers with an adolescent storyline and relatability factor. “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio is a prime example of a top fiction book in the young adult subcategory of the fiction genre. This fiction book became so popular that it inspired a feature film.

If you don’t mind deciphering fact from fiction, a biographical fiction book is what will catch your eye. In “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” by Mark Sullivan, the story is based on an actual person but enhanced with made-up events and characters. The sign of a good biographical fiction is not knowing where the truth is and the imagination of the writer. The drama and historical facts should combine in a symbiotic relationship to create an outstanding literary adventure for readers. This was accomplished so well in “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” that it also came alive on the television screen. Similar titles in this category include “Unbroken” and “The Nightingale.”

Historical fiction is a well-loved sub-genre of fiction books. These often tell the story of society as it battles strife or prosperity during certain notable time periods. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is everything a historical fiction should be, with excellent depictions of Germany during the Nazi Regime and the true struggles of a foster child. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is another historical fiction that is just simply beautiful. It will evoke intense emotions and bring you right back to that rocky time of the late ’60s early ’70s. If you have a favorite part of history, you will surely find a historical fiction novel like these that will really captivate your senses.

There are many more excellent fiction books to discover. These are just a few of the top fiction books, recommended by fellow readers. You won’t regret picking one up as you’ll discover, you’ll not be able to put it down.

DYWM Fun Fact

The very first fiction novel is thought to be the “Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu. She wrote the 54-chapter novel in the early eleventh century about an aristocrat, Hikaru Genji. Murasaki Shikibu was said to have used her experiences in the imperial court to write the book. It is a masterpiece to the Japanese culture.

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, is at the top of the list of best-selling fiction books of all time. With over 500 million copies sold, this book can be found everywhere. It’s followed by “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens at 200 million copies sold. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien remains in the third spot, with 150 million copies sold to date. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” appears on the list at number eight with 100 million copies sold. Among the rest on the list are works by Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis and Dan Brown. These top-sellers are rated in order of copies sold and do not include religious staples, such as the Bible and The Quran.

The Fiction Book Buying Guide

  • One of your greatest resources for finding the top fiction book is recommendations from your closest friends and family. Ask them before you embark on the task of finding a good book to read. Friends especially will hold similar interests as you, so their taste in literature may line up with your own.
  • Before you buy a book, visit your local library to ask a librarian for references. They are a fabulous resource if you are entirely new to the fiction genre.
  • Always read the book summary before blindly buying a fiction book. These summaries tell a whole lot without spoiling the entire story.
  • Find reviews online of fellow readers, so you don’t waste your money on a book that got a mediocre response.
  • When building your personal library with fiction novels, try to vary your collection with different authors and/or sub-genres. This will give you a well-rounded selection of the entire fiction genre.