13 Evocative Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing

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Looking for books like Where the Crawdads Sing? If you loved one of 2018’s most popular books and are looking for read-alikes, look no further than this book list. These books are similar to Where the Crawdads Sing in various ways, and you’re sure to find at least one that shares what you loved about the novel.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of the most-loved and recommended books of the past few years.

Anytime I run across someone asking for book recommendations–whether it’s online or in person–inevitably, this book is mentioned.

As of this writing, the book has almost 975,000 reviews on Goodreads–with an average rating of 4.47. That’s…staggering.

Readers LOVE this book.

As for me, Where the Crawdads Sing made my list of the best books of 2018 and the best books of the decade.

It’s a book worth reading, worth savoring, and worth sharing with your friends.

But what should you read AFTER Where the Crawdads Sing

If you were left wanting more of Kya’s story and her life in the marsh, I can’t give you that.

But, if you’re looking for read-alikes, these books like Where the Crawdads Sing just might be your perfect next read (or the perfect gift for someone who also loved the book!).

About Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Abandoned in the marsh at a young age, Kya survives alone and becomes a local legend–the eccentric “Marsh Girl.”  She finds respite in the wilds of the marsh, but long-held suspicions find their target when she is named the prime suspect in a murder. 

Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing

If you just finished Where the Crawdads Sing and are looking for books to read next, try some of the books below. Whether you’re looking for authors who write like Delia Owens or for books with similar themes or settings, these books are excellent options for your next read.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, a book like Where the Crawdads Sing

The Great Alone

Author: Kristin Hannah

A teen girl’s father, struggling with PTSD and alcoholism, uproots the family to a remote community in Alaska. She and her mother attempt to build a life while facing dangers at home and from the brutal and enchanting landscape.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Nature/environment as a major theme
  • Small community of interesting characters
  • Teen girl mostly on her own

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood, a book to read if you loved Where the Crawdads Sing

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Author: Bryn Greenwood

A neglected girl finds care and companionship with her father’s drug runner. Their relationship changes as she grows up, but the world and the ugliness of her family’s dealings creep in.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Young girl mostly on her own
  • Secret relationship with someone she wants to trust
  • Gray-area moral questions

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, a book that's similar to Where the Crawdads Sing

The Language of Flowers

Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A young woman who has aged out of foster care discovers her unique talent of matching people with exactly the right flowers. She struggles to trust but finds family and community in unexpected places.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Teen girl on her own
  • Family in unexpected places
  • Connection and unusual understanding of elements of nature

Educated by Tara Westover, a book to read after Where the Crawdads Sing

Educated

Author: Tara Westover

Educated is Westover’s memoir of her childhood growing up in a dysfunctional and sometimes violent survivalist family in Idaho, and her journey to awareness and an elite education.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Unusual, isolated family circumstances
  • Childhood trauma
  • A woman’s independent journey to education

Into the Forest by Jean Hegland, a book like Where the Crawdads Sing

Into the Forest

Author: Jean Hegland

When the electricity goes out, with no explanation and no signs of it returning, Nell, her father, and sister Eva must survive in their isolated forest home. In their isolation, their connection to one another and the nature that surrounds them grows stronger.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Teen girls trying to survive alone in an isolated setting
  • Connection with nature
  • Outside violence disturbing their isolated peace

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Moloka’i

Author: Alan Brennert

A young Hawaiian girl is diagnosed with leprosy in the early 20th century and sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Presumably sent to die, she instead builds a life.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Enchanting natural setting
  • Young girl rejected by society
  • Community in unexpected places

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Swamplandia!

Author: Karen Russell

A 12-year-old girl–whose family runs an alligator wrestling attraction in the Everglades–journeys into the swamp after her mother dies and her father disappears.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Coming-of-age story of a young girl
  • Defining natural landscape
  • A girl on her own in the wild

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Peace Like a River

Author: Leif Enger

When Reuben’s brother Davy flees after an encounter with bullies that ends in murder, 11-year-old Reuben, his poetic sister Swede, and his father follow him into the unforgiving Badlands. 

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Defining natural landscape
  • A murder with uncertain circumstances
  • An adolescent alone in the wild

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle

Author: Jeannette Walls

Walls’ memoir of her childhood in a family with a reckless sense of freedom and free-spirited rootlessness that ultimately devolves into breathtaking selfishness and neglect. Walls and her siblings learn to care for themselves and find the wherewithal to leave and pursue their own paths.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • A family in poverty
  • Neglected children forced to raise themselves
  • A girl pursuing her own path and education

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Author: David Wroblewski

Edgar Sawtelle is a retelling of Hamlet–in the north woods of Wisconsin and with dogs. The Sawtelle dogs are an imaginary breed, and Edgar, a mute boy forced to leave his home by his uncle after the death of his father, survives with their companionship.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • A child on their own after the loss of a parent
  • Relationship with nature and animals

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesay

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Author: Margot Livesay

In this retelling of Jane Eyre, a young girl is sent to Scotland after the death of her father. Following a similar path as Jane, Gemma is sent to boarding school and then gets a job as an au pair for a rich and intriguing man on the Orkney Islands.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • A young girl on her own in a wild landscape
  • An outcast orphan at school and in society

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Saving Ruby King

Author: Catherine Adel West

A teen girl is left with an abusive father after her mother is found murdered in Chicago. The girl’s friend tries to save her, and secrets and trauma from past generations creep in.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • A young girl in poverty left largely on her own
  • A suspicious murder
  • A vocal community

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

The Orchardist

Author: Amanda Coplin

A loner orchardist in the turn-of-the-century American West takes in two homeless girls. They slowly begin to trust him, but soon violence invades their peaceful lives on the orchard.

Elements in common with Where the Crawdads Sing:

  • Loners connected to nature
  • Young girls on their own and trying to survive
  • Evocative prose about the natural world

Related: 13 Eco-Fiction Books about the Environment and Nature


What other books remind you of Where the Crawdads Sing?


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3 Comments

  1. I read The Orchardist. You have to stick with the first few chapters to really get through to the better part of the book.

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