Beyond Bestsellers: Where the Crawdads Sing


by Julie T.

Murder, mayhem, and the magic of reading! Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens has spent several months on the New York Times Bestseller list, garnering a #1 spot and hundreds of library requests.  Reese Witherspoon helped catapult this character-driven, coming-of-age tale into the literary stratosphere with her Book Club x Hello Sunshine seal of approval.

Catherine “Kya” Clark, a reclusive young woman, is accused of murder when her ex-love interest winds up dead. She makes for an easy target when local law enforcement come up short in their investigation. Neglected and abandoned by both parents at an early age, Kya learns self-sufficiency and finds comfort in the richly depicted world of coastal North Carolina. As the trial unfolds, we learn of her unstable 1950s childhood and affirming friendship with a local boy. Books that garner this much attention and praise always seem to make the leap onto the silver screen. Keep your eyes peeled for a film adaptation.

You can learn more about how the author’s passion for wildlife informed her vivid depiction of Kya’s cherished home in the swamp. Delia and her ex-husband Mark wrote Secrets in the Savanna, a memoir centered on their experiences in wildlife conservation in Africa. News sources speculate on whether a certain incident inspired Owens’ fictional narrative.

No Wait Checkout: Southernmost by Silas House

Our featured always available title during the month of January is Silas Houses‘ contemporary novel Southernmost. When Pentecostal minister Asher Sharp lodges a gay couple after a catastrophic Tennessee flood, his world view shifts dramatically. His personal and professional lives soon crumble, with the loss of his job and marriage. An acrimonious custody battle provides further impetus for Asher’s flight to Florida with his son in search of his estranged gay brother. House’s spare prose, well-crafted dialogue, and richly depicted settings complements the journey readers take alongside Asher. Hopeful, compelling, and best of all, no wait! Check it out now!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

While you wait, sate your appetite with our read-alikes while wait for your copy of this blockbuster debut. These novels are also character-driven, featuring quirky, sympathetic young women searching for connections with the natural world and people.


Let’s No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda

Similar disparities are immediately apparent in this novel, also set in the American South. The lives of Pearl, a teenage girl from a lower income household and Mason Boyd, the entitled son of a privileged family, entwine with odious implications. Author Jon Pineda also utilizes flashbacks to advance and enrich the story. This coming-of-age tale features lyrical, spare writing, complex characters, and disturbing, haunting tone.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Akin to Delia Owens’ vibrant North Carolina setting, the California coast plays an integral role in the events and behaviors of its characters. Turtle, a fourteen year-old girl is isolated from affirmative human relationships. Her home life with an abusive father challenges her transcendence from its toxic and destructive depths. Despite the intense, disturbing subject matter, Turtle is a compelling and courageous young woman for whom readers will cheer.


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