Where the Crawdads Sing is a book that focuses on Kya Clark, aka the Marsh Girl. In her small fishing village of Barkley, rumors have swirled around her, and it’s easy to say her fellow neighbors fear her. When in 1969, the popular Chase Andrews was found deceased, Kya was the first suspect.
Admittedly, she is a little different compared to the rest of the town’s residents. She considers herself a born naturalist and someone who likes to learn lessons by living off the land. Kya lives in near solitude but yearns for love and attention, as all humans do.
When two young men in town become interested in Kya, she finds herself drawn to them just as much. Of course, rarely does anything go according to plan, and this new world that Kya finds herself in ends up crashing around her.
This book by Delia Owens has been an enormous success. It has sold over 15 million copies since it was published in 2018 and has even spawned a film starring Daisy Edgar-Jones as the titular character. The film did receive mostly mixed reviews with some criticism towards the overall tone of the movie.
If you like reading these books and want to read books similar to Where the Crawdads Sing, we have you covered with this list of the best book recommendations!
Best Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing in 2023
1. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
Ruth Emmie Lang’s Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is about a man named Weylyn Grey who is not like most people. After being orphaned, he ends up being raised by wolves and is currently living with his good friend Merlin, a horned pig. This already makes Weylyn pretty odd, but you have to consider that he has some very strange abilities.
Weylyn is not sure how to describe his abilities. They seem to manifest in the strangest of times and in the strangest ways. It could show up as a freak storm or as a tree that grows over the course of a night. These abilities scare and concern Weylyn, especially where Mary is concerned.
He’s been in love with her since he saved her from a wolf when she was eleven. She does not seem to care about the strange things that follow him, but Weylyn does because the last thing he wants to do is hurt her.
2. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone takes us to Alaska in 1974. 13-year-old Leni has just been moved to Alaska by her former POW father, Ernt Allbright. Her mother would follow her father to the ends of the earth, so she agrees to live off the grid in Alaska. This leaves Leni with little choice but to accept the move.
After moving to Alaska, things are looking up for the family. They have found an excellent plot of land along with a community in the area that is only happier to help. Things start to change when winter comes.
Leni’s father, Ernt, becomes increasingly unhinged, leaving her and her mother unable to count on him genuinely. All Leni and Cora can do are rely on each other to survive this difficult winter in their small, snow-covered cabin.
3. Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward
Jesmyn Ward’s Where the Line Bleeds is about fraternal twins Joshua and Christophe, soon-to-be high school graduates. After graduating, Joshua finds a job in the Gulf of Mexico as a dock laborer. Christophe tries to also find a job, but after searching and failing, he finds himself desperate. This leaves Christophe feeling he has no choice but to turn to selling drugs to make ends meet.
Christophe’s twin brother is less than thrilled when he discovers how his brother is making money. However, Christophe ignores Joshua and sees no other option. Unlike his brother, he was unable to find a legitimate paying job.
The sudden arrival of their estranged, and absent, addicted father only throws more gasoline onto an already out-of-control growing fire.
4. We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
We Are All the Same in the Dark tells us about Wyatt, a young man who has had a difficult life. His sister Trumanell Branson vanished under mysterious circumstances over a decade ago, and he was once considered a suspect. Since then, Wyatt has been cleared, but those in his town continue to believe he had something to do with it.
After Wyatt finds a strange, mute, one-eyed girl in a field making silent wishes, he wonders if it is a sign. Odette Tucker, his town’s youngest police officer, believes something different. She believes the girl will bring nothing but trouble to the town. Yet, despite Odette’s reservations, she finds herself unable to stay away.
Odette wants to not only find the missing Tru (whom she has a history with) and figure out the mystery behind her disappearance but also what the arrival of the strange girl means.
5. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
Next up in the list of best books like Where the Crawdads Sing list is The Paper Palace, which is about Elle. Elle is a 50-year-old woman who deeply loves her husband and their three children. They are currently visiting their summer home, a place they go to every summer. Also in attendance are her good friend Jonas and his wife.
One night, while Elle and Jonas’s spouses are inside, they sneak outside to have sex with each other under the cover of darkness. In the morning, Elle finds herself torn. She loves her husband Peter and everything they have built, but she also cares for Jonas, her childhood love. If not for an incident when they were younger, they would have ended up together.
Elle realizes that she must decide because it’s not fair to anyone involved to remain in limbo. What she has to remember is that all decisions have consequences, no matter how difficult the decision may be.
6. The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere
Donna VanLiere’s The Good Dream is set in 1950s Tennessee. It features Ivorie Walker as the main protagonist and a woman considered an oddity by 1950s standards. She’s in her 30s and still single, much to the horror of everyone around her. When her mother dies, Ivorie is forced to go home and start caring for the family farm.
It’s quite a change for Ivorie Walker, who is starting to feel the call of loneliness now that she is all alone on the family farm. One day her life is thrown for a loop when she spots a strange boy stealing from her garden. He is filthy and seems almost feral.
Ivorie is automatically concerned for the boy and wonders how he ended up in such a situation in the first place. She is determined to find out who he is and, in doing so, will unearth secrets that her hometown would rather stay buried.
7. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling is a coming-of-age novel about a young teenage girl who struggles when her heart starts telling her one thing while her mind starts telling her another. Turtle Alveston loves her father, a man who has taught her to use a gun and a blade to hunt animals effectively.
Her father loves her to an almost obsessive intent. He is determined to keep her by his side no matter what, but to Turtle, this is her normal. She does not know any other life.
While she is comfortable with her life at home, it’s a different story at school. She feels different from everyone at school and has trouble making friends. What Turtle does not know is that even though her father loves her very much, sometimes those that love her are the ones who can hurt her the most.
8. Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s Educated is an autobiography by the author Tara Westover. She lived a strange life, being raised by doomsday preppers deep in the mountains of Idaho. They did not believe in anything modern and kept to themselves. As a result, Tara never went to school or a hospital. Tara and her family were isolated from society, leaving them all to fend for themselves.
Despite this upbringing, Tara finds herself wanting to learn. She taught herself math and grammar, which helped her get admitted into Brigham Young University. There she learned about all types of historical events, and the more she learned, the more education Tara wanted. It led to her going to such institutions as Harvard and Cambridge in her attempt to fill this thirst for knowledge.
It’s a gut-wrenching true story of a woman who finds herself torn between two worlds.
9. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward brings us the tragic tale of Edward Adler. When he is twelve years old, he boards a plane with his brother, parents, and 183 other passengers heading from Newark to LA. Some of these passengers include a young woman, an injured vet, a woman fleeing her husband, and a business tycoon, to name a few.
The plane crashes and leaves Edward as the only survivor out of all the people on the plane. His story became worldwide news because why wouldn’t it? A twelve-year-old boy surviving a devastating crash is red meat for the national media. However, behind the headlines is a young boy struggling to accept that his entire family is dead, and he feels like a part of him is still on that plane that crashed.
10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is about a woman who has the worst social skills known to man. She is too blunt, always saying exactly what is on her mind. Add on the fact that she lives a very scheduled life and prefers to avoid human contact where she can; it’s safe to say her social life is nonexistent.
Things start to change for her after meeting Raymond, a strange man who works in IT at her office. When she and Raymond help Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, a peculiar friendship starts to form between the three.
Eleanor is caught off guard by it all but soon discovers that having friendship and love in your life isn’t such a bad thing after all.
11. The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Karen Dionne’s The Marsh King’s Daughter tells the story of Helena Pelletier, who seems to have to have it all. She has a great husband, two amazing daughters, and a fulfilling career as a businesswoman. However, unbeknownst to her loved ones, Helena has a very sordid past.
Helena’s mother was abducted by her father and kept hidden in the Marshlands of Michigan in a remote cabin. Two years into the abduction, Helena was born. Her father could be cruel, but he taught her how to survive in the wild.
Over twenty years later, Helena has tried to bury that past, but the past comes knocking when her father escapes from prison and vanishes into the marsh. Even though they are searching for the Marsh King (as they call him), Helena knows they’ll never find him. Only she, who knows her father’s survivalist skills inside and out, can do it.
12. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman tells the story of Keiko Furukura, a 36-year-old woman who resides in Tokyo. She feels like an outcast no matter where she goes. The only place Keiko has ever felt like she fit in was at the Smile Mart, a place she started working at the tender age of 18. Keiko feels so at home working there that she ends up staying there for over 18 years.
She is the one constant at the store. Managers have come and gone, but Keiko refuses to leave, feeling at home anytime she walks into the Smile Mart. Her family and coworkers can’t understand how Keiko can be happy with her unmarried status and lack of a proper career. All this pressure from people around her eventually makes Keiko resort to desperate measures.
13. The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristen Harmel
Kristen Harmel’s The Forest of Vanishing Stars brings us into the time of World War II when Nazi Germany was wreaking havoc on the entire world. The main character is a young woman from wealthy German parents who is kidnapped and forced to live in the wilderness of Eastern Europe. In 1941 her captor dies and leaves her alone.
When a group of Jewish people fleeing the Nazis interrupts her solitude, she learns the horrors of what has been happening in the world since her kidnapping. She ends up teaching the people how to survive in the forest, and all seems fine until a betrayal forces her to escape into a nearby German-occupied village.
In this village, her past and present collide in a way she never expected they would. This is one of the most recommended books like Where the Crawdads Sing that every fan must read.
14. Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman’s Beartown is about the town of Beartown. It’s a tiny town that can be found deep in a forest and has a deep lake where an old ice rink can be found. This ice rink is important because it was built by the men who founded this town together. The ice rink is more than an ice rink. It gives all the residents hope that the next day will be better.
When their junior ice hockey team is set to compete in the national semi-finals, and it appears that they might win, Beartown is elated. However, during this match, a violent act occurs that not only leaves a young girl traumatized but also the entire town.
Will the town come together, or will they crumble under the scandal that might destroy their small town?
15. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Up next in the list of best books like Where the Crawdads Sing is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, which is set in 1936 in the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY. There lives a young woman named Cussy Carter, the last living female of the blue people’s ancestry. This means she has blue skin and is the last known person to have it.
Cussy is a lonely woman who joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian. She is very dedicated to her job, traveling across all kinds of dangerous roads to bring books and other reading materials to the people living in Eastern Kentucky.
The hill people she brings these books to call her Bluet. Cussy is dismissive of their fear of her blue skin and the new government book program she is a part of. She is determined to continue bringing them brooks and a little joy into their lives.
16. Circe by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s Circe tells the story of a strange little girl named Circe. She is born in the house of Helios to a family of gods. However, unlike her parents, she is completely normal. This leads her to seek out comfort in the mortal world. It is there Circe discovers she does have powers. Her power lies in witchcraft, which lets her transform people into monsters that can cause the gods a lot of trouble.
When Zeus discovers what she is up to, he banishes her to a deserted island. There Circe can work on her skill and crosses paths with all kinds of characters from Greek Mythology. The more powerful she grows, the more attention she draws from people around her… even the most dangerous Olympians of them all.
Circe must decide whether her home lies with the gods or with the mortals.
17. Room by Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue’s Room is a book that is set in the point-of-view of a five-year-old boy who has spent the entirety of his life in a small room with his mother he calls Ma. They sleep, wash, learn, eat, play, and live in this room. The only other person Jack sees is Old Nick, who sometimes visits at night.
Unbeknownst to Jack, the room is a prison where the cruel man Old Nick has held his beloved Ma captive. She has tried hard to give her son a good life despite the circumstances, but when something serious happens, she knows it’s time for her and Jack to escape.
With Jack’s help, they try to escape the room. What awaits them outside the room is a life Jack never knew existed; it’s not going to be easy for either mother or son to adjust.
18. Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe
T.I. Lowe’s Under the Magnolias tells the tragic story of Austin Foster, a teenager living in Magnolia, South Carolina, in the 1980s. She’s just been through the worst thing anyone could go through. Her mother has died giving birth to twins, leaving her alone with six siblings and her father, who seems determined to let his grief consume him.
They live on a tobacco farm, which barely turns a profit. The family relies a lot on others for help, which embarrasses Austin, who just wants her family to survive.
Things change when she meets the son of a wealthy local family. She’s had a crush on him for years, but when her father makes a tragic choice, the Foster family’s lives are thrown into chaos, leaving Austin unsure of where to turn.
19. The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian
Kelly Mustian’s The Girls in the Stilt House brings us to 1920s Mississippi and tells the story of two teenage girls. One of the girls is named Ada, who ran away from her hometown of the Trace to Baton Rouge. However, after life proved to be more difficult there, she runs away from Baton Rouge back to the Trace, where her father lives. She doesn’t want to go back but has nowhere else to go.
The other girl goes by the name of Matilda. She is a daughter of a sharecropper and also lives in the Trace. After getting sick of struggling, she decides to flee to Ohio, where she hopes a better life awaits her.
Both of these girls get pulled into the world of bootlegging and each other. Only time will tell how strong their bond is and what may or may not break it.
20. We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End is about Walk, who was born and raised in a small town on the California Coast. He works as the chief of police, and though he is an adult, he still struggles with the fact that his testimony sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison. Only 30 years later is his former best friend finally released.
The other one in this story is Duchess, a 13-year-old girl who is the daughter of Star. Star was friends with Walk and Vincent, but today she is far from the bright girl she was as a child. Now she is a shell of herself, leaving Duchess to raise herself and her five-year-old brother. School is just as difficult, with kids making fun of her for being so poor.
When Vincent King returns to town, it ends up bringing Walk and Duchess together in the most unsparing ways.
21. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is set in 1975 in England. Recently, Mrs. Creasy has gone missing, and her neighbors think nothing nefarious is going on. It just has to do with the heatwave. Grace and Tilly, two ten-year-old girls, are convinced something else is going on.
They start going all over the neighborhood, looking for clues about their missing neighbor. The more they search, the more secrets the two girls discover. Whatever happened to Ms. Creasy is tied into something Ms. Creasy was looking into just before she vanished from the Avenue neighborhood.
Grace and Tilly might be only ten years old, but they are determined to solve the mystery of her disappearance and expose the secrets the neighborhood is hiding.
22. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours brings us back to 1939 Memphis. Rill Foss is 12, living with her parents and four siblings on a Mississippi River shantyboat. Things come to a head when one night, her father leaves Rill in charge of her siblings after rushing her mother to the hospital. Soon after, the children are all taken to a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.
The adults assure the Foss kids that they will be returned to their father, but this is a lie. They are forced to stay at the orphanage while Rill tries desperately to keep her and her siblings together.
In the present day, we are taken to Aiken, South Carolina, where the focus is on Avery Stafford. She grew up in a wealthy family and now works as a federal prosecutor with a wedding on the way. When her father gets sick, Avery returns home to help her father. It’s there that the family secret comes to light.
23. The Girl You Killed by Leslie Wolfe
Leslie Wolfe’s The Girl You Killed takes us into the life of Andrew Brafford, who has a perfect life on the surface. She works as a marine biologist and has just moved to a suburb in Houston with her loving husband, Craig. However, a few months later, Andrea’s so-called loving husband is being tried for the murder of Andrea, which no one would have ever expected.
Everyone in the town is shocked that Craig would do such a thing. Why was Andrea’s life taken, and did Craig do it? Remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Only time will tell if Craig was the one to take his beautiful and amazing wife’s life… and if he did, then why?
This is a question only two people can answer, and one of them is dead. Throughout it all, the residents in the area are going to be watching.
24. A Very Nice Girl by Imogen Crimp
Imogen Crimp’s A Very Nice Girl is about a girl named Anna who has found that she doesn’t fit in with anyone around her. She doesn’t fit in at school with her wealthy classmates, her family, or with Max, who frequents the bar where she sings.
Max is nothing she is. He is rich and seems to be perfect… and for some reason, Anna wants to get his attention.
Life gets more difficult when she starts going to auditions and rehearsals, which are tied to her desire to grow her singing career. It’s a struggle to juggle that along with her personal life. The more time that passes, the more difficult it seems to become.
She needs to balance everything in herself while still not losing sight of herself. If that happens, she will surely fail and be forced to return home.
25. The Saints of Swallow Hill by Donna Everhart
Donna Everhart’s The Saints of Swallow Hill tells of married couple Rae Lynn Cobb and Warren, who run a turpentine farm. It’s difficult to work, but Rae Lynn grew up in an orphanage, so anything compared to that is a piece of work. After her husband becomes the victim of his carelessness, Rae Lyn does what she has to do to give him mercy.
This leaves her no choice but to disguise herself as a man named Ray and flee to Swallow Hill, a turpentine camp in Georgia, to avoid jail. It’s a challenging environment that has Otis Riddle in charge, a cruel man who is abusive to his wife, Cornelia. Rae works hard, but it never is enough.
When Delwood Reese offers to help Ray, a friendship grows between not only them but also Rae Lynn and Cornelia. Soon Rae’s past and present will collide in the most unexpected ways.
26. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees is about the tragic tale of Lily, who believes she is the one who killed her mother at the tender age of four. To add to the tragedy, her father says that Lily’s memory of holding the gun is the correct account. Now, at the age of fourteen, Lily is still living a difficult life. She lives on a peach farm with her father, and her only friend is Rosaleen, a black servant.
This can be a problem because Lily lives in South Carolina in the 1960s, where segregation is alive and well. When Rosaleen is arrested and beaten one summer afternoon, Lily decides she needs to help. The two friends go on the run and end up following the trail that Lily’s mother left.
Now Lily will finally discover just who her mother was and the mystery surrounding her death.
27. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit is a nonfiction book set in 1986. It’s about a young man named Christopher Knight who leaves his home in Massachusetts and drives all the way to Maine. From there, he goes into a forest in Maine and remains there for the next three decades until he is arrested for stealing food.
During these thirty years, Michael Finkel has spent the winters in a tent, managed to find ways to store food and water, and somehow avoid not freezing to death. This is an impressive feat because winters in the Northeast can be pretty brutal. Somehow, Michael Finkel managed to avoid this!
One way he survived was by breaking into cottages in the area. He would take food, clothing, and other provisions. He never took more than he needed, but regardless, he still terrified the people in the area due to the constant mysterious burglaries.
It’s a fantastic tale of a man who lived in solitude for so many years and now lives amongst people in the world.
And there you go, all you book lovers out there! These are the top books similar to Where The Crawdads Sing, the fantastic and award-winning books by Delia Owens. We don’t expect you to read them all, but some of them are bound to be on the list that stand out to you if you enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing. This applies even if you haven’t read that book either!
So, what are you waiting for? Get going and start reading! With all these books, you’ll be sure never to have a dull moment anytime soon.
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