Delving into the marshes of North Carolina with Delia Owens’ mesmerizing novel “Where the Crawdads Sing” is an unforgettable journey.
Its blend of lyrical prose, vivid setting, and literally perfect storytelling.
For those enchanted by the magic of Kya’s story and yearning for similar tales that weave nature, mystery, and human resilience, this curated list offers a selection of books that share the same atmospheric charm and emotional depth.
Get ready to immerse yourself in worlds where the natural landscape becomes a character in its own right, and where secrets lie hidden beneath the surface of serene waters.
Books Like Where The Crawdads Sing
1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This novel follows the story of a family moving to Alaska in 1974, hoping for a fresh start. The vast wilderness tests their survival skills and resilience, especially for the young daughter, Leni, who discovers love and danger in the wild. It’s a tale of adventure, survival, and the power of the human spirit.
Both novels explore themes of survival and isolation in a wild setting, with strong, independent female protagonists facing the challenges of their environments.
2. Educated by Tara Westover
A memoir that tells the story of a young woman who grows up in a strict and abusive household in rural Idaho. Without any formal education, she decides to educate herself, leading to a transformative journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
Themes of isolation, the struggle for self-education, and the journey towards self-reliance echo the experiences of Kya in “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Set in France during World War II, this novel tells the story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who find their strength and resilience tested in different ways as they resist the German occupation.
Features strong female protagonists facing extreme challenges, highlighting themes of survival, resilience, and the impact of a hostile environment on personal growth.
4. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Based on a true story, this novel uncovers the scandal of a Memphis-based adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, told through the lives of the children involved.
Both novels delve into themes of family, loss, and identity, with a historical backdrop that adds depth to the characters’ stories.
5. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
A heartrending story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who, living on a remote island, find a boat washed ashore with a dead man and a living baby, leading to a moral dilemma that changes their lives forever.
Explores themes of isolation, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of choices made in desperate situations, similar to Kya’s experiences.
6. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This novel explores the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives, set against the backdrop of the 1990s in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
It delves into themes of family dynamics, secrets, and societal expectations, much like the undercurrents that run through “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
7. The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
A historical novel that intertwines the stories of three young women searching for their lost family members post-Civil War, and a modern-day teacher in a small Louisiana town who uncovers their story.
Both novels navigate through the themes of loss, discovery, and the journey to reconnect with one’s roots and identity.
8. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Set in South Carolina in 1964, this novel follows a young girl who runs away from home and is taken in by three black sisters who introduce her to the world of beekeeping and the Black Madonna.
Themes of female empowerment, the search for maternal figures, and racial tensions parallel the backdrop and emotional depth of “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
9. The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
A memoir about a girl growing up in a polygamist cult in rural Mexico, detailing her harrowing journey to escape poverty, abuse, and religious fanaticism to find freedom and identity.
Like “Where The Crawdads Sing,” this memoir presents a gripping tale of survival, resilience, and the quest for a better life against all odds.
10. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Set during the Great Depression, this novel tells the story of Elsa Wolcott, who must make the difficult decision to leave her drought-stricken Texas farm to search for a better life in California with her two children.
The themes of survival, family bonds, and the struggle against natural and human-made disasters resonate with the struggles faced by Kya.
11. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
This novel follows the journey of a mother and her son fleeing Mexico for the United States after their family is killed by a drug cartel, exploring themes of migration, survival, and the pursuit of freedom.
The central themes of survival, the maternal instinct to protect, and the journey through perilous landscapes echo Kya’s experiences in “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
12. The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
Set in 1929 in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina, this novel is based on the true story of Ella May Wiggins, a mill worker who becomes an activist for workers’ rights, despite the dangers she faces.
Both novels highlight the resilience and determination of their protagonists in the face of societal and environmental adversities.
13. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
A memoir recounting the unconventional, poverty-stricken upbringing Walls and her siblings had at the hands of their deeply dysfunctional parents, showcasing a journey towards resilience and forgiveness.
Features themes of family dysfunction, resilience, and the struggle to break free from a troubled past, mirroring Kya’s challenges and growth.
14. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
A novel in stories, focusing on the complex character of Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, and the lives she touches, often in profound and surprising ways.
Explores complex human emotions, relationships, and the small-town dynamics that can also be found in “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
15. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
This novel follows Taylor Greer, who leaves Kentucky to avoid pregnancy, inherits a 3-year-old Native American girl along the way, and settles in Tucson, Arizona, forming an unconventional family.
Themes of female independence, the creation of chosen families, and the protagonists’ connections to their environments are central to both stories.
16. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
A profound tale of a family’s journey through rural Mississippi, blending history and magical realism to explore the haunting legacy of race and poverty in America.
Both novels are deeply rooted in their sense of place and explore complex family dynamics against a backdrop of social and racial issues.
17. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
A deeply moving novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s Ohio, dealing with the loss of their daughter, Lydia, and uncovering the secrets that have been tearing them apart.
Focuses on family secrets, the impact of expectations, and the longing for understanding and connection, themes also present in “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
18. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The story of Turtle Alveston, a teenage girl navigating survival and coming of age in Northern California, with an abusive father and the rugged wilderness as her only companions.
This novel showcases a young girl’s fight for survival and independence, similar to Kya’s journey, with a strong emphasis on the natural world as both sanctuary and challenge.
19. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
A sweeping narrative that follows Theo Decker, who survives an accident that kills his mother, and his lifelong attachment to a painting that draws him into the art underworld.
While “The Goldfinch” explores themes of loss, obsession, and survival in a more urban setting, it shares the deep psychological exploration of its protagonist’s life and the impact of trauma that resonates with Kya’s story.
20. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
Set in the turn of the twentieth century in the Pacific Northwest, this novel tells the story of a reclusive orchardist who provides shelter to two pregnant runaway teenagers, altering his solitary life forever.
Themes of solitude, care for others despite personal loss, and the transformative power of the natural environment parallel Kya’s experiences in the marshes.
21. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
A memoir detailing the author’s solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, undertaken in a moment of personal crisis, as a way to heal and find herself after devastating loss and addiction.
Both stories involve journeys of self-discovery and healing in the natural world, highlighting themes of resilience, personal transformation, and the challenge of overcoming physical and emotional wilderness.
22. Circe by Madeline Miller
A novel that reimagines the life of Circe, a minor goddess in Greek mythology, transforming her into a powerful figure who navigates the challenges of immortality and finds her own voice in a world of gods and mortals.
Features a strong, independent female protagonist who overcomes isolation and finds her strength, paralleling Kya’s journey of self-discovery and survival.
23. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The story of Eleanor Oliphant, a socially awkward woman who leads a simple life, avoiding social interactions, until her routine is disrupted, leading her on a journey of self-discovery and emotional healing.
While set in a contemporary urban environment, this novel also explores themes of loneliness, trauma, and the transformative power of human connection, akin to Kya’s experiences.
24. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
A novel that reimagines the historical Underground Railroad as an actual railroad beneath the soil, following Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
Themes of survival, the quest for freedom, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of oppression mirror the underlying currents of Kya’s story.
25. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
A historical novel set in the aftermath of World War II, intertwining the stories of two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an American searching for her cousin in 1947—who come together in a story of courage and redemption.
Both novels feature strong female protagonists who face significant challenges, with a backdrop of historical events that shape their journeys.
26. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
A novel about the survivors of a devastating flu pandemic that wipes out most of the world’s population, focusing on the travels of a nomadic group of actors and musicians who are dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive.
Explores themes of survival, the importance of art and story in human life, and the connections that sustain individuals through catastrophic events, echoing the resilience seen in “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
27. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
A richly told story about two siblings, Danny and Maeve Conroy, who are exiled from their childhood home by their stepmother, and their lifelong obsession with the ancestral house that symbolizes their family’s rise and fall.
Themes of family, loss, and the influence of the past on the present, with the central place—a house—mirroring the marsh’s significance in Kya’s life.
28. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
A powerful tale of Hiram Walker, born into slavery, who discovers a mysterious power that saves him when he nearly drowns in a river. This leads him on a journey on the Underground Railroad, seeking freedom and transforming into an agent of liberation.
Both novels delve into the themes of memory, survival, and the quest for freedom, with a deep connection to the natural world and a lyrical writing style that brings their settings to life.