Welcome to The Crescent Bookclub, the new spot to find all of your next reads from reviews of all our favorite books! You’ll never have to post in your sorority Facebook group asking for recommendations again.

It only seemed fitting to start with a book I recently read and cannot stop thinking about: “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. It is not only one of the most beautifully-written novels I’ve read in a long time, but the plot line itself is about as captivating as they come. Equal parts a coming of age story, ode to nature and murder mystery, Owens’s debut novel will continue to receive accolades and awards without a doubt.

Although this story takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, its love story to marsh life is something all of us in New Orleans can appreciate from a place close to our hearts. The story follows Kya, a young girl left by her family to live alone in the marsh, as she simultaneously navigates growing up in isolation and her intensifying passion for the surrounding nature. As she ages throughout the years, she has to figure out how to read, how to survive, and most significantly, how to form human connections. The chapters switch off between Kya’s life story and the future murder of a local man that leaves the town suspicious of foul play.

Aside from the enthralling plots, the sheer detail in Owens’s writing is enough to make any reader appreciate the overlooked and underappreciated beauty of the marsh ecosystem. Interestingly enough, Delia Owens is trained in zoology and animal behavior, and is renowned for her non-fiction wildlife books. As her first novel, she incorporates her skilled attention to detail, which makes the story that much more breathtaking. Kya’s love for nature is indisputably contagious; I found myself missing the unique ecosystem of Louisiana and all of the life it holds.

Owens gives the same level of detail and care to her characters as well. Her ability to bring these people to life in a realistic and sophisticated fashion can definitely be chalked up to her extensive experience studying animal behaviors. Because the characters are so raw and relatable, I felt myself going through all of the emotions along with the story line. Kya’s loneliness, fear of abandonment and experiences with first love were equally powerful, and something that deeply resonated with me. I think other readers will also see a therapeutic reflection of their more challenging memories in her journey.

As I raced to the end of this novel (while simultaneously hoping it would never end), I was amazed by the twists and turns in the plot that I never saw coming, all culminating in an incredibly satisfying plot twist that wrapped up the story perfectly.

In summary: this book is a must-read. It has everything you could ask for and more, and if I could read it all over again for the first time, I would in a heartbeat. If you do end up checking it out, let us know what you think! And stay tuned for more book recommendations to come.

Cover Photo: Popzara

About Rachel Wine

Rachel Wine is our Editor in Chief and a lover of all things New Orleans! A few of her favorite things include film photography, traveling, and finding new restaurants to try.