Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the most-loved and recommended books of the past few years. If you recently read it or lapped up every second of the movie, then there is a pretty good chance you’re eager to expand your lineup in similar direction. Scroll through to find more books like Where the Crawdads Sing to grab your hands on.
Without a doubt, Delia Owens has written an impressive and contemporary masterpiece of historical fiction that portrays the wonders of Mother nature, and features an abundance of moments dipped in southern grit that captivate you from the beginning until the end.
About ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing follows the story of a young girl, Kya, set in 1950s North Carolina. At the beginning of the story, Kya is 6 years old. Her whole family abandons her and leaves her to fend for herself and become what the inhabitants of Barkley Cove call her, ‘The Marsh Girl’. With one day of school, no money and no family, Kya learns the ways of life and womanhood by herself in the marsh.
Then the story jumps to a perspective that takes place in 1969 when the body of a young man, Chase Andrews, is found. The story continues through Kya’s life till the “present day” in 1969 when they are investigating this murder and the locals immediately suspect Kya, ‘The Marsh Girl.’
The protagonist, Kya, is the epitome of a survivor and a true badass. The book’s weaving together of a powerful narrative, filled with struggle, rejection, grit, and local history, alongside the story’s intricate and seamless soundings into the dynamic ecosystems of the coastal marshes of North Carolina is at once awe inspiring as well as intellectually potent.
Newyork Times called it an unusual debut by a retired zoologist with an odd title and genre that doesn’t fit in any category completely. Unlikely to be a blockbuster, Delia Owens’s Where the Crawdads Sing defied the laws of gravity and skyrocketed in sales with an astonishing trajectory. And the reason she walks with a cake is the wider appeal of novel across different demographics.
Books To Read If You Like ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’
If you haven’t had enough of Where the Crawdads Sing, here are a few more novels that have similar sympathetic, fascinating characters and vivid settings. Whether you’re seeking beautiful writing full of haunting suspense, stories that involve nature, or stories about youngsters forced to grow up too soon then check out these amazing books with lonely heroines, mysterious deaths, and coming-of-age stories.
1. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Set in North Carolina, A Land More Kind Than Home is a beautifully written debut novel that is full of haunting suspense just like Where the Crawdads Sing. It’s a story of murder and deception in a small Appalachian town under the spell of a charismatic minister of the snake handling ilk. Appalachia is rarely glorified in literature or film, and this novel is no exception. Murder, intrigue, shady family relationships, good vs evil, melancholy, and redemption—the novel has it all. Incredibly shocking and moving, it succeeds in bringing together the past, the present and the future in the face of the main protagonists and their individual fates, orbiting bravely around the unspeakably heart-breaking destiny of Stump, a mute boy.
2. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
A glorious portrait of family, love, bravery, survival, true community, and most importantly what the land and the wild have in store for you, The Great Alone is as magnificent as the fjords and the Northern Lights of Alaska—impossible to tear your eyes away from. It is a historical fiction that portrays the beauty and wilderness of Alaska through the story of a young girl. She is navigating her tumultuous surroundings in order to find herself. And also learn that not all love is to be feared. The book has many elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing, such as, Nature or environment as a major theme, small community of interesting characters, and a teen girl mostly on her own.
3. My Abandonment by Peter Rock
Set mainly in or near Portland and based on a true story, My Abandonment is one of those books that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s the story of Caroline and her Dad, who spend their days camouflaged in the middle of woods in Portland. While seeking to live modestly and away from the civilized world, father and daughter spend their time collecting edible plants, washing in a local stream, exchanging random things with other nomadic people, and visiting a tiny library exclusively to read books. Then there’s the upheaval that occurs when authorities try to find them a place in society. If your favorite part of Where the Crawdads Sing is naivety, sensitivity, empathy and respect for Nature, this book is a must-read.
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Captivating and beautifully written, All the Light We Cannot See, is the Pulitzer prize winning, war fiction by Anthony Doerr. This novel is comparable to Where the Crawdads Sing in that it is part coming-of-age tale and part mystery. It’s about a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and a German boy, Werner. Their paths inevitably cross when they both try and survive the hardships of WWII, each with their own challenges. Their journeys are both heartwarming and heart wrenching. But there is no denying that there is something pure and beautiful about them and their journeys. During the grimmest of times, shadowed with the darkness of brutality, there is also a hope of finding that light, hidden beneath all the chaos which pushes one, to live just another day.
5. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Reading Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours is like solving a mystery and putting together a jigsaw puzzle all in one. Each chapter offers a piece of the puzzle while conjuring up more questions as the mystery continues. Lisa Wingate’s novel is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, in which Georgia Tann, the head of a Memphis-based adoption agency, abducted and sold underprivileged children to wealthy families all across the country. The story touches your heart from the very beginning and stays there long after the book is finished. If you are inspired by the intrigue and secrets of Where the Crawdads Sing, this book is a must-read!
6. The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian
A poignant, debut southern mystery, The Girls in the Stilt House recounts an engaging tale of friendship, racism, power, and cultural norms. It is a coming-of-age story set in Mississippi during the Prohibition era in the 1920s. Kelly Mustian weaves a moving narrative about two young girls who form an unexpected bond after a heartbreaking loss. Both young women face the weight of having limited alternatives. And their mutual aid and support become crucial in their capacity to continue living their lives. Kelly’s stunning prose and intriguing characters make for an engrossing read. If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, or you are simply a fan of the southern fiction genre, you will definitely enjoy this beautifully written new release from Kelly Mustian.
7. Circe by Madeline Miller
An empowering and beautifully written book, Circe is the story of a woman trying to find her voice and identity in the midst of family rivalry, love and loss. It is about the Greek goddess Circe and all the trials and tribulations she faces in life over the centuries. And how she grows and flourishes from these experiences. It is almost lyrical and poetic but not at all romanticized. However, the mythological and historical elements of the story are combined with Circe’s thoughts and emotions seamlessly. If you’re looking for books like Where the Crawdads Sing that portray an extraordinary female protagonist, look no further!
If you’ve already read this book, check out our collection of books that are similar to Circe!
8. The Cove by Ron Rash
Set in the Appalachian mountains during WWI, The Cove follows Laurel Shelton, who lives with her brother Hank in a farmhouse near a cove that locals believe is cursed, and Laurel is accused of being a witch because of a birthmark. Battling with everyday struggles was hard enough. But combine this with the judgment and prejudice of the townsfolk, life in the cove is pretty isolated and hard. Just when Laurel thinks that life has nothing but misery in store for her, a stranger brings a ray of hope. But, when there’s a possibility for everyone in the cove to be happy, Ron Rash turns the tale around, leaving you with despair and regret. Like Where the Crawdads Sing, the book has a sublime sense of place, atmospheric detail and a strong female protagonist.
9. The Confession by Jessie Burton
You won’t be able to put The Confession down if the secrets and suspense of Where the Crawdads Sing inspired you. The story grabs you immediately with a continuous shift between the present and the past. Elise Morceau is enthralled by the writer Constance Holden the moment she meets her. Because she is everything Elise thinks she isn’t: intelligent, assertive, and appealing. She follows Connie to Los Angeles. But in this city of odd dreams and glitz, Elise feels even more out of her depth, and makes a life-changing decision. Three decades later, Rose Simmons is still looking for answers about her late mother’s disappearance. She confronts the last person to see her, Connie, a hermit who managed to avoid publicity. The concept of confession drives this gripping page-turner.
10. The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
Captivating and beautiful, The Highest Tide focuses on a young boy who makes a shocking discovery on the nocturnal mud flats of Puget Sound, discovers fame, love, and a unique vision of the world in one spectacular summer. He also tries to deal with the hardships that come with the equally strange process of growing up as the water continues to reveal new discoveries from its deep depths. Will his feelings for the girl next door be unrequited? Will his quarreling parents end up divorcing? Is everything, including the bay, moving away from him? Lynch writes eloquently in a clear, incisive manner and an eye for the subtle facts and aspects of life. This book is for you if you liked Where the Crawdads Sing’s lyrical prose about the natural world and coming-of-age story.
11. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
Heartbreaking, lovely, and harsh, Moloka’i is a must-read book for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing. In the early 20th century, a little Hawaiian girl is diagnosed with leprosy and transported to Kalaupapa, a confined leprosy community on the island of Moloka’i. She was presumably intended to die, but instead she created a life. The novel shares many similarities with Where the Crawdads Sing. Such as a lovely natural environment, a little girl who has been shunned by society, and a community that emerges from unexpected places. While dealing with sacrifice, suffering, friendship, love and mythology, it gives us an experience that is deeply moving and authentic.
12. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
A heartwarming story of strength, resilience, and humanity, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a complete package of comfort reading; slow-paced, reflective, and emotional. Eleanor is gauche, and her eccentricities set her apart from the others. She is neither bitter or disordered, despite having experienced childhood trauma and living alone. Like Kya, she longs for honest and faithful relationships. This is a character-driven book, and Eleanor is not your typical protagonist with her unique perspective on the world and her comments on everyday situations. Her story is about her journey of realization that letting people in and having an open heart is a great way to live life. It’s wonderful, joyful and sad, but laced with hope and optimism. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to read books like Where the Crawdads Sing.
13. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
Incredibly well written with multiple points of view, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a story of trauma, dysfunction, strength and ultimately love. This book is quite literally it’s title: ugly and wonderful. You either love or despise this book. It is disturbing and at times hard to read but also lovely and heartfelt. Wavy, a teen, and Kellen, a twenty something, and their love story that will stick with you. It’s a heavy book with sensitive subject matter. You’ll love, you’ll be lost, you’ll be disgusted, you’ll be happy. The book shares several elements with Where the Crawdads Sing. For instance, there is a young girl who is largely alone, a hidden relationship with someone she wishes to trust, and some gray-area moral questions.
14. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The award-winning author of The Invention of Wings and The Book of Longings returns with a multi-million bestselling novel about a young girl’s path to recovery and the changing power of love. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, who has an abusive father, a burdened belief that she killed her mother accidentally, and just one friend, Rosaleen, a black servant. When racial tensions flare up, Lily and Rosaleen flee the country, following a trail set by Lily’s mother. Lily seeks refuge at the house of three beekeeping sisters, where she embarks on a journey that reveals both her own understanding of the world and the mystery surrounding her mother.
15. Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Profoundly insightful and deeply moving, Beartown is beautiful yet haunting. It focuses on a little town on the outskirts of the forest. Hockey is the only hope for the community. It may bring people together, but it can also rip them apart. The junior hockey team is on its way to the national semifinals, and a victory is critical to the town’s economic existence. It’s a heavy burden to be responsible for a whole community’s dreams, and the semi-final match is the spark for a terrible crime that will leave a little girl traumatized and a town in shambles. Accusations are leveled, and like ripples on a pond, they spread throughout Beartown, affecting every citizen. This one is on a list alongside books like Where the Crawdads Sing because it makes you feel everything in the same way and leaves you with an emotional hangover at the end.
16. Golden Child by Claire Adam
A wonderful debut novel set in 1980’s Trinidad and Tobago, Golden Child is a story about sacrifice, love, heartbreak, hardship, family, life choices, parenthood, and willpower. The story of two brothers, Peter and Paul, raised by poor, hard working parents with integrity and love. The brothers could not be more different but inherently connected by love and the secret bonds of twins. Claire Adam’s electrifying novel reckons with the secrets of the human heart and casts its spell with uncommon wisdom and grace. Just like Where the Crawdads Sing, this book examines themes of betrayal and familial dysfunction, as well as their long-term effects. Besides, the matter-of-fact tone of the book is also evocative of Kya’s emotional disengagement from most of her human surroundings in favor of her natural ones.
17. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
Enthralling and thought-provoking, The Stranger in the Woods tells a fascinating story of Christopher Knight, a 20-year-old who vanished and lived alone in the Maine woods for 27 years and didn’t even build a fire during that period. It’s an engrossing and eye-opening book about how certain people just do not fit into or reject our society. Follow journalist Michael Finkel as he interviews Knight and others close to him to learn why he decided to become a recluse. Why did he cut himself apart from society and his family? As he tells the narrative of the North Woods Hermit, Finkel tackles themes of loneliness, community, and what it means to live a decent life. One of the books like Where the Crawdads Sing, it will provide you with a fantastic reading experience.
18. The Wildlands by Abby Geni
From the best-selling author of The Lightkeepers comes a brilliant literary thriller, The Wildlands, that explores sibling bonds and the wild impulses that threaten to destroy them. Geni beautifully examines the odd intersections of people, passions, and nature. Cora, our protagonist, is similar to Kya in that she comes from a family of orphaned siblings who are highly in tune with nature. Tucker, the lone brother, becomes involved with a radical animal rights group. He ends up bringing Cora, the youngest, across the nation with him, while their sister Dora looks for them anxiously. The book is similar to Where the Crawdads Sing in that it portrays an adolescent girl on her own, family in unexpected places, and an exceptional awareness of components of nature.
19. Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward
Ward’s fantastic debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds is a modern tale about the dangers of loving oneself, one’s family, and one’s community while society fails to love you back. It’s about twins Joshua and Christophe, who grew up on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. They struggle to make a living after graduating from high school. While Joshua finds a legitimate career, Christophe begins peddling narcotics. And their lives have been made much more complex by their parents’ homecoming. The book is another case of terrible parents and young kids trying to fend for themselves as we see in Where the Crawdad Sings. It’s a lot of sounds and smells, often making up for sight—all the more scope for the imagination.
20. The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Chilling and full of twists and thrills, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a sensationally good psychological thriller novel. Helena Pelletier is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped by her father when she was a teenager and held captive in a marshy cottage. Helena, who was born two years after the kidnapping, adored her natural surroundings. And despite her father’s occasionally violent behavior, she adored him. She’s hidden her history for more than two decades, to the point that even her spouse is unaware of her true identity. But now that her father has fled, she is well aware that the police will never find him. However, as a hunter trained by her father, she may have a chance. If the mystery component of Where the Crawdads Sing is your favorite part, this is the most closely comparable read-alike.
21. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
An intensely gripping story, The Silent Patient revolves around Alicia Barenson, a famous painter married to acclaimed photographer Gabriel. Their heavenly marriage faces an end when Alicia kills her husband and becomes mute. Speculations are made but she refuses to speak. Alicia’s refusal to talk leads a psychotherapist, Theo Faber, to try to understand why Alicia committed the crime. If you like Where the Crawdads Sing‘s haunting thriller side, you’ll enjoy cuddling up with this novel, anxious to learn more about Alicia’s past. I would highly suggest this book to everyone, but especially to anyone who likes riveting thrillers and unputdownable page turners.
22. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Brilliant, suspenseful and shocking, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins is a must-read for all thriller fans. Against the backdrop of the expanding Mexican cartels, survival is a struggle. The story follows Lydia and her son, Luca, and reveals their tragic quest to depart the land of their origin, despite all difficulties. This is the outcome of Lydia’s husband publishing a tell-all book about Javier, the new drug cartel’s leader. What begins as a charming connection between Lydia and Javier quickly devolves into the murder of innocent people and, ultimately, a heartbreaking narrative of survival. We suggest this book to everyone searching for timely, honest, and courageous books like Where the Crawdads Sing. Put your seatbelts on and prepare for one of the most perilous journeys you’ve ever had.
23. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Well-written, witty and warm, Unsheltered is as endearing and engaging as Where the Crawdads Sing. It’s a dual narrative reminder of how essential our choices are. At the center of it all is a family, comfortably rich in cultural capital but quite poor in economic terms. They’re striving to stay together in a house that is physically coming apart around them. Another narrative, set in the 19th century, alternates with the current one, and has a female scientist and a poor science teacher who becomes her close friend. It’s a tale about various universes that are slowly collapsing, most notably the United States in the pre-Trump age, but also the planet in the face of climate change, educational and healthcare institutions, and some ideals, such as knowledge, compassion, and solidarity.
24. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale is a fantastic work of historical fiction set during World War II. The book sheds light on an often overlooked facet of the conflict—women of the French Resistance—through the story of separated sisters Isabelle and Vianne and the distinct paths they chose. In their own ways, the two sisters, who embody very different personalities, become members of the French Resistance. These women are driven by courage, terror, and sheer willpower to preserve their country and live to see another day. As you read this book, you will be struck by the hardships faced by citizens, particularly women and children, in France under the Nazi occupation. This period of tribulations, however, is not without its share of hope, love, courage, and resilience. Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, it is a novel for all ages, a novel to be treasured for a lifetime.
25. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is a great follow-up to Where the Crawdads Sing. Both pieces are densely packed with evocative imagery. Owens shares du Maurier’s love of nature, poetry, and mystery-driven romance. It’s no surprise that Rebecca is mentioned in the novel. The author brings life to the natural environments that surround the characters, making the sceneries come alive. The plot is straightforward, featuring characteristics of numerous Gothic classics. These include a destitute young girl, a strange older man, and a house filled with mysteries. Our narrator is a young lady who marries the mysterious Maxim de Winter, who has recently lost his first wife Rebecca. However, after arriving his famed manor Manderley, she soon finds that he and his household are haunted by Rebecca’s memory.