25 Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing

Are you looking for the best books like Where the Crawdads Sing?

We understand! Delia Owens’ debut novel is a modern masterpiece of a novel that tugged at our hearts too. It’s also a New York Times bestseller, and the book has now been adapted into a hit movie by Reese Witherspoon.

6 copies of Where the Crawdads Sing on a store bookshelf
Three diagonal book covers in a row - Magic Hour and Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances are on each side representing books like Where the Crawdads Sing, which is in the middle

Is There a Sequel to Where the Crawdads Sing?

Sadly, there is no sequel to Kya’s story. However, whether you’re looking for beautiful writing, stories incorporating nature, or tales of children forced to grow up too soon, we have a highly-rated list of book recommendations for you!

Book Recommendations for Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing

Girl of the Limberlost, book cover

Book Summary

If you’re looking for a similar storyline to Crawdads, check out A Girl of the Limberlost. This 1909 classic is a stand-alone sequel to the 1904 book Freckles. In A Girl of the Limberlost, Elnora is the main character who struggles with her mother and her school. She gets solace in an eastern Indiana swamp and meets a boy who shares her love of nature. She finds a way to turn her love of nature into funding for the education she craves. 

This book is rated as appropriate for 3rd grade and up. It would be fun to read aloud with your upper elementary or middle school kids.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 03/19/2024
If the Creek Don't Rise book cover

Book Summary

If the Creek Don’t Rise is set in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. It’s another area of the United States that shares some of the same struggles of the low country where Kya is raised. 

Sadie Blue quickly realizes that her marriage is a mistake, but doesn’t see a way out until a stranger arrives in town.

Some readers find the local dialect distracting or difficult, but once they are absorbed into the story find it hard to put down.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 03/19/2024
Girls in the Stilt House book cover

Book Summary

Ada comes from a hard life on the swamp, and Matilda is a sharecropper’s daughter. So it wasn’t likely for these teenage girls to end up connected through a murder. 

Set in the 1920s Mississippi Bayou, you’ll follow the teens deep into the world of bootleggers and corruption as they try to stay safe and come to terms with their complex past.

Moonshiner's Daughter Book Cover

Book Summary

Head back to 1960s North Carolina for another coming-of-age tale. Jessie is 16 and wants no part in her family legacy – the business of moonshine. She believes that moonshine is the reason her mother died when she was four, but her dad refuses to talk about it.

Jessie’s desire for the truth turns into looking for control in other places – like food. As an eating disorder flourishes, Jessie comes up with a scheme to eliminate the moonshine stills, which accidentally brings old rivalries and grudges back to life.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 10/16/2023

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in North Carolina

Book Woman of Troublesome Creek book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

99% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

The impoverished residents of Troublesome Creek struggle for nearly everything, but thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, they aren’t lacking books.

Book woman Cussy Mary Carter is not only Troublesome Creek’s own traveling library but also the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. But not everyone approves of Cussy’s family or the government Library Project. Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, but she has to confront prejudice and suspicion as old as the Appalachians.

Ordinary Grace book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

93% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

The summer of 1961 started out full of hope and innocence in New Bremen, Minnesota – a new young president, the Twins baseball team playing their debut season, root beers at the soda counter, and comic books on the barbershop magazine racks. But the summer soon turned grim, with multiple deaths. Accident? Natural? Suicide? Murder?

When the tragedies occur in town, 13-year-old Frank Drum is thrust into adulthood overnight. The novel is part mystery and part coming-of-age story, told by Frank himself as a 40-year-old adult looking back on that fateful summer.

Before We Were Yours book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

98% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This book is based on the true story of Georgia Tann’s “adoption” agency that claimed to help orphans, but instead kidnapped poor children and trafficked them to wealthy families.

Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings have a wonderful life on the Mississippi River aboard their family’s shanty boat. But on a stormy night when their father has to take their mother to the hospital, Rill is left in charge. Unfortunately, strangers arrive, and the kids are thrown into the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. They are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents – but quickly realize the dark truth.

In present-day South Carolina, Avery Stafford returns home to help her father during a health crisis. When she stumbles upon the possibility that her grandmother may be harboring a dark family secret, Avery becomes obsessed with her mission to uncover the truth.

The Book Girls Say…

Melissa read this heart-breaking tale and hated that it was based on true events. It was worth reading, but she recommends grabbing your tissues and keeping them handy!

Educated Book Cover

Book Summary

In this memoir, Tara Westover shares the story of her upbringing in rural Idaho. Born to survivalist parents, she grew up stewing herbs for her midwife healer mother and worked in her father’s junkyard. Her father forbade doctors and hospitals, even when she and her brothers suffered serious injuries.

She was also kept from any formal education. Although she didn’t step foot in a classroom for the first time until the age of 17, Tara worked hard to educate herself in mathematics and grammar. She was ultimately able to gain admission to BYU, where she studied history and learned about major world events, like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement, for the first time. From there, she went on to opportunities at Harvard and Cambridge.

This coming-of-age memoir details how she struggled to lift herself up and dealt with the struggle between family loyalty and the grief that comes with severing those ties in search of something more.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in Idaho

Magic Hour book cover

Book Summary

When a 6-year-old girl appears from the rugged terrain of the Olympic National Forest, she is alone and unable to speak. No one knows where she came from or who she is.

Dr. Julia Cates is a child psychiatrist who returned to her western Washington hometown after a scandal that destroyed her career. She is determined to discover the truth about the mysterious little girl’s past, and to help her heal and prepare for a better future. Unfortunately, that means working with her estranged sister, a police officer, along the way.

The Book Girls Say…

While this book was originally written in 2006, it has been more recently republished under the original title of Magic Hour and as a print-only edition with the title of Wild.

NOTE: Because this book was originally written almost two decades ago, some of the terms related to autism are now outdated.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Kristin Hannah Books: The Ultimate Author Guide

North of Normal book cover

Book Summary

In this memoir, the author’s grandparents fully embraced 1960s counter-culture, including moving from California to the Canadian wilderness.

Cea was raised off the land without running water, electricity, or heat, mostly in isolation outside the hedonistic parties thrown by her grandparents and mom. As Cea gets older, she has to decide if she will embrace the unconventional (and less-than-ideal) world she was born into, or if she can thrive making choices for herself.

Land More Kind Than Home book cover

Book Summary

Like Crawdads, A Land More Kind Than Home is part family drama and part suspenseful mystery. In this case, the main character is Jess, who is very protective of his mute older brother, Christopher. Their mom is involved in church, but this isn’t a normal church and the boys aren’t allowed to go inside. 

When Christopher, who is called Stump, is caught snooping and sees something he isn’t supposed to, Jess is thrust into adulthood before he’s ready. Suddenly danger, evil, freedom, and deliverance are all within his grasp.

Let the Willows Weep book cover

Book Summary

Like Kya, Birddog Harlin is a girl trying to make the most of a dysfunctional family in a rural area. This fictional coming-of-age story brings all the feelings, often painful and sad but tempered with love and hope. 

You’ll cheer for Birddog and be angry at her mom while being absorbed by the poetic and descriptive language throughout.

Marsh King's Daughter book cover

Book Summary

Set in the marshlands of upper Michigan, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a thriller about Helena Pelletier, who was raised as a survivalist by her criminal father. 

Helena’s mother was kidnapped as a teen and hidden away in a cabin deep in the marsh. Two years later, Helena was born. She loved her home and even her father until his brutality reached new heights one day. 

Twenty years later, her father escaped prison and disappeared into the marsh. Helena is the only person with a chance to find him.

Tilted World book cover

Book Summary

Set in 1927 in the tiny town of Hobnob, Mississippi, this book tells the story of two federal agents who arrive in town to investigate the disappearance of two other agents who had been chasing a bootlegger. At a crime scene, they discover an abandoned baby boy, and Agent Ingersoll is determined to find the boy a good home as he was also an orphan. 

A new challenge arises amid their search for the bootleggers, other agents, and a home for the boy. The banks of the Mississippi River are rising and threatening the town. 

Similar to Crawdads, both the characters and the environment evoke all the feelings as you read this historical mystery.

The Book Girls Say…

Other works by Tom Franklin such as Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and Hell at the Breech evoke similar Crawdads-style feelings.

The Girl with the Louding Voice book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

97% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Adunni is a 14-year-old girl living in poverty in a Nigerian village. She loves school and knows that learning all she can is the key to achieving a better life. But, despite promising to allow Adunni’s schooling to continue after her mother’s death, Adunni’s father makes a decision that ends her education in the village and changes the trajectory of her life.

You’ll be moved to both tears and cheers as Adunni endures and overcomes heartbreaking challenges while remaining focused on her dream of an education, much like Kya.

The Book Girls Say…

PICK THIS ONE! We would both give this one more than 5 stars if we could, and really hope that Abi Daré writes a sequel so we can see the next phase in Adunni’s life. Update: Abi Daré’s new book, And So I Roar, is scheduled for release in August of 2024. While it’s not listed as a sequel, the book description indicates that we will see more of Adunni!

While we didn’t experience this ourselves, some readers struggle with the dialect in either audio or written form, but find that the other form works well for them (ie: if the audio isn’t working for you, try reading and vice versa). The main character, Adunni, tells the story using her limited English, and one of the beautiful parts of the writing is that you can see her improvements over time.

The Language of Flowers book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

88% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Abandoned at birth by her mother, Victoria Jones spent her childhood in no fewer than 32 foster homes. At age 9, Victoria wanted nothing more than to be adopted by a woman named Elizabeth, but something went terribly wrong. Nine years later, having aged out of the foster care system at age 18, Victoria finds herself homeless on the streets of San Francisco.

All those years before, Elizabeth instilled a love of flowers and their meanings in Victoria. While Victoria is unable to get close to anyone, she finds that she can communicate through flowers, and she gets a job working for a florist named Renata. When Victoria meets a flower farmer named Grant, her past and present begin to collide. She is forced to confront some painful secrets for a second chance at happiness.

The Book Girls Say…

This novel is beautifully written and hard to put down! The printed book also includes the author’s flower dictionary, modeled from the Victorian era.

Book Summary

This is a moving coming-of-age novel about how fragrances connect us to our memories and help us share our lives. Emmeline grows up on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the world through her sense of smell. Throughout her enchanted childhood, the one thing her father won’t explain, however, are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them.

As Emmeline gets older, her curiosity gets the better of her and she finds herself vaulted out into the real world, with all its ups and downs – love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge.

The Book Girls Say…

This book is lyrical and immersive and unique in its exploration of scent.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 08/09/2023

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Best Books to Read in Spring

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Set in 1932 during the Great Depression, This Tender Land follows four orphans, including 12 year old Odie, who have escaped the abusive Lincoln Indian Training School in Minnesota.

The kids set off down the Mississippi River and have to survive the environment while being pursued by the school. The group must decide whether to trust each stranger they encounter, and discover more about themselves along the way.

The Book Girls Say…

This Tender Land spent nearly six months on the New York Times bestseller list. Equal parts adventure and heart, this book is often described as a modern classic and compared to Huckleberry Finn.

Book Summary

Joanna Teale has thrown herself into dawn-to-dusk work studying nesting birds in rural Illinois for her graduate program. It’s a great distraction from the loss of her mother and her own breast cancer battle.

Out of nowhere, a bruised girl named Ursa shows up. The girl claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles, but provides no other background information. Concerned about the bruises, Joanna lets the girl stay while enlisting the help of her reclusive neighbor to solve the mystery of where the girl came from.

Over the summer, miracles occur, but as the end of summer and the 5th miracle approach, Ursa’s dangerous past also gets closer.

The Book Girls Say…

This heartwarming novel is also perfect for fans of The Snow Child. At its core, it’s a story of friendship and found family. If you enjoy the atmospheric style of this novel, you may also want to read the author’s 2021 novel, The Light Through the Leaves, which also blends nature, a touch of magic, and mystery.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 03/22/2024

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Books Set in Illinois
Best Magical Realism Books

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Harry has always loved trees, but he spends his days behind a computer as an analyst in a treeless US Forest Service office. After his wife dies suddenly and tragically, Harry can’t seem to move forward. One day he decides to follow his wife’s advice – he quits his job and escapes to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania to be with the trees.

There he meets Oriana, a young girl who has suffered a significant loss of her own. She spends most of her time in the forest with her book in the treehouse her father bought for her. They bond over their love of the forest and the trees.

The octogenarian librarian in town gives Oriana a strange, handwritten book called The Grum’s Ledger. With this book as their guide, Oriana helps Harry believe in the magic, if only he’s willing to open his eyes and see it.

The Book Girls Say…

Because of its thread of magical realism, some describe this book as a fairy tale for adults. But it’s more than that. It’s a story of grief, sadness, and the power of friendship and connection set against the beauty of Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains. This story is told from many points of view, including Harry and Oriana’s, as well as numerous others – but it’s written in a way that it’s easy to follow and understand.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

In The Snow Child, you’ll be transported to remote 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel are nearing 50 when they decide to move to Alaska. As newcomers to the harsh environment, it is a struggle for them. Between the intense physical labor required and the even more extreme loneliness, they’re not sure they’ve made the right decision with the move.

Then, during the first snowfall of the year, they decide to have some fun and build a child out of snow. In the morning, the snow child is gone, but they see a young girl running through the trees with the items they had used to dress the snow child. Is she real, or are they hallucinating and dreaming of the child they’ve always wanted?

The Book Girls Say…

Melissa thought the fairytale-like qualities of this book were phenomenal in both the writing and the storytelling. The book also fully transports you to the isolation of an Alaskan homestead, making the harshness of the environment and the preparation required to survive very clear.

Call Your Daughter Home book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Set in Branchville, South Carolina, in 1924—shortly after the Boll Weevil Infestation devastated southern cotton fields—this historical fiction novel tells the story of motherhood and womanhood. The story centers around three women at a crossroads: Gertrude, Retta, and Annie.

Gertrude, a mother of four, must make a difficult decision to save her daughters. Retta is a first-generation freed slave who comes to Gertrude’s aid. And Annie, the matriarch of the influential Coles family, offers Gertrude a job.

Despite having seemingly nothing in common, these three women unite to stand up to injustices long plaguing the small town. This book is a timeless story about the power of family, community, and the ferocity of motherhood.

The Book Girls Say…

Warning: Be aware that this book includes some potentially triggering topics, including domestic abuse and child sexual abuse. Additionally, this book includes some racially insensitive language reflective of the era in which it’s set.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance book cover

Book Summary

This debut novel written by Ruth Emmie Lang is magical, both in story and language. Weylyn Grey was raised by wolves after being orphaned. After surviving on his own in nature, he has developed some supernatural abilities. He first realizes his powers when he single-handedly stops a tornado.

His powers, amazing as they may be, tend to manifest at inopportune times and places. In Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, Weylyn’s story is told by those who have encountered him throughout many years.

Even if you’re not usually a fan of fantasy, we think you’ll love this interesting character!

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Best Magical Realism Books

Prodigal Summer book cover

Book Summary

Set in southern Appalachia, Prodigal Summer has been called a Hymn to the wilderness. Set over one summer, three stories intertwine into one nature-focused tale. 

Deanna Wolfe is a wildlife biologist on a mission to save a family of coyotes.

Lusa Maluf Landowski is a young, widowed scientist obsessed with insects.

Nannie Land Rawley is a 70-year-old apple grower. 

Separately, they all have challenges with the land and with relationships. Before fall, you’ll see their very different stories merge into one.

Late Migrations book cover

Book Summary

The highly-rated Late Migrations is a bit different than our other recommendations because it’s a series of short essays.

The author offers observations on the natural world, and it’s creatures while also exploring the cycles of joy and grief we all experience throughout life. 

The descriptions of the essays sound like something Kya would have written!

Where the Crawdads Sing Summary

This nature-filled coming-of-age novel is also part murder mystery and part courtroom drama.

The main character, Kya, was left to fend for herself in rural North Carolina in the 1950s. For two decades, she was known to locals as the “Marsh Girl.” She lives away from other humans and has only attended one day of school, but she finds companions in nature all around her.

The book has a split timeline between Kya’s formative years in the 1950s and an incident in 1969. A handsome boy from town is found dead, and the locals immediately suspect Kya.

We both loved the story of Kya Clark so much that we didn’t want it to end. Our readers agreed when many of them chose it as part of our Decades Challenge. Their average rating was 4.5 stars with 100% saying they would recommend the book to a friend.


Comments on: 25 Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing

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  1. This list is amazing! I want to read them all! Just subscribed to your newsletter and excited to hear more from you both!

  2. I’ve read eight of these books and Educated is by far my favorite.

  3. Dovie Biggerstaff Carrell says:

    I would add “One for the Blackbird. One for the Crow” to this list. It has been my favorite read of 2022. Has a very similar vibe to “Crawdads”.

  4. Another book I recently read that really reminded me of Where the Crawdads Sing was called Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin. It’s a mystery and a life lesson rolled into one. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  5. I read several of your suggested titles and enjoyed them all, especially Before We Were Yours. Another good one to add to the list is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

  6. Thank you for this list. I read Where The Forest MeetsThe Stars. It was a very good book. I can’t wait to read the other ones. I would like to add A Thousand Splendid Suns to the list.

  7. Please read Betty by Tiffany Daniels.Very similar to Crawdads but a true story that you won,t be able to forget long after you finish it.

  8. Irene Watson says:

    Just discovered this site, I live in the North East of England and during the pandemic read and read which I only used to do o holiday. Where the crawdads sing was my favourite book of all time. Thankyou for the list I have sent my daughters a few off your list for Xmas. X

  9. This was exactly the article I was looking for! I reconnected with nature and myself while reading Crawdads. I was eager for similar books, and I ended up reading it twice in one year. Now I have your list! Thank you!

  10. “The Highest Tide” by Jim Lynch is one I always recommend after Crawdads. Same use of nature as a character, and a similar sort of coming of age themes. It’s a beautiful book too!

  11. Natalyia Rutherford says:

    Prime had Where The Forest Meets the Stars for free for a while! One of my faves for 2020!! I also loved The Nightingale so I’m excited to try more of these!

  12. Mary Alvarez says:

    I loved Where the Crawdads sing and Educated. Can’t wait to try some of the others on this list!

  13. Where The Forest Meets The Stars…so good and very reminiscent of subject book.
    Read it on Amazon do not delay!
    Author – Glendy Vanderah

  14. I loved Crawdads and Educated. Another favourite is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Looking forward to reading some of the others on this list.

  15. I’m so glad you included Girl of the Limberlost! I thought about it all the way through Where the Crawdads Sing, and so few people have discovered Gene Stratton Porter. I was luck enough to be given five of her books by my mother, who received them from her older brother as a child, from a used book store. They are falling apart after so many reads.

    1. Melissa George says:

      We love books being passed down between generations, that’s so cool!

  16. Let the Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell is also a similar and remarkable read.