Reading Journey 3: The Boys by Katie Hafner

Hello, fellow bookworm! Today I'm going to share with you updates on the book that I am reading, The Boys by Katie Hafner.  It's about an introverted man Ethan who fell in love with Barb, an extroverted woman. They thought that they complemented each other but it turns out their differences drove them apart.  In the beginning, Ethan left the most impression on me because of his introvertedness to which I could relate. His sad childhood made me identify with him more. When he met Barb, it's so nice seeing he's opening up to new experiences. Barb was his total opposite. She loved to explore the world.  They got married, went to an amazing escapade in Italy, but when they fostered twin boys, their relationship became wobbly. It was aggravated by the pandemic when people globally literally stayed and worked from home. This part made the story realistic as I also experienced staying at home, social distancing, and the wearing of the mask and plastic face shield.  The strain

A Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

In her debut novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens, an American author and zoologist, lays open the influence of abandonment and prejudice on a girl who strived to survive in a North Carolinian marsh, the "Graveyard of the Atlantic", the only place she knew as home after her family left her all alone. Kya grew into a strong-willed, perceptive, and intelligent woman who was shunned by most people in town for her wild, rugged life. Two men fell in love with her but their love was not enough to save her from loneliness. 

The murder accusation threatened her to be away from the only thing she had, the marsh; it was her mother; it was her only family. The marsh can keep secrets but could it save her?

After topping the New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020, Where the Crawdads Sing continues to stay in Amazon Charts, the New York Times Best Sellers, and Indie Bestseller Lists. Eleven million copies are already sold around the world. 


Kya fended for herself when her family left her in their shack when she was six years old. The truant officers tried to put her in school where she could have decent food and learn reading but she slipped away from their hands. Kya grew up living on grits and selling mussels, and eventually smoked fish, to Jumpin’, the owner of the gas dock and bait shop located between Barkley Cove and Kya’s place. 

As years went by, she grew into a beautiful young woman that captured the heart of Tate, the young man whom Kya met in the marsh when she got lost when she was seven years old. The eleven-year-old Tate accompanied her to her shack. At 18, he made the first move to get close with Kya. When he found out that Kya couldn’t read, he brought her discarded textbooks including advanced biology books that sparked the beginning of her love for studying the living organisms in the marsh. In the end, they fell in love but their romance was cut short when Tate left for college, leaving Kya devastated. 

She found herself in the arms of another man, Chase Andrew, the famous football player in their town. With the promise of marriage, Kya gave in to Chase's desire to deflower her. Feeling loved, Kya was ready to break out of her cocoon, meet his family and friends, and blend in the society. However, the promise of marriage and the idea of having a life with Chase were all fantasy when she saw his arm around the shoulders of another girl in a store. She also read in the newspaper the news about Chase’s upcoming wedding. Her heart was shattered again, resigning to the truth that she was meant to live alone. 

Then, on October 30, 1969, Chase's body was found by two boys passing by the Fire Tower with their bikes. An investigation was made and the early statements pointed to Kya as the suspect. In the trial, some witnesses pinned Kya down and others swore they saw her go out of town for two days. After everything was considered, the jury found Kya not guilty. 

Fast forward to Kya at sixty-four years old. She had lived a happy, fulfilling life with Tate, her husband, and two children. She had also devoted her life to biology and writing. One evening, when she failed to return home after collecting samples in the marsh, Tate found her on a boat in a lagoon, lifeless. After the funeral, Tate went to the shack to get her will and birth certificate but she found none. Instead, he found two things: one that surprised him, the other that did not. 


Now I understand why Where the Crawdads Sing got 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 131,998 ratings. Delia Owens impressively embroidered the events together into a tapestry of surprise that left me stricken with different emotions of shock and disbelief. Kya grew on me as I turned every page, feeling sorry for what she went through from the day her mother left her to the day she was on trial for murder. However, the ending put me in a place where I had to make a decision whether to continue to be on her side or not.  

One of the themes touched by this novel is the lack of motherly love which, I believe, to be very crucial to a person's growth. A little girl waiting for her mother to walk down on the lane by their shack pinched my heart. Having this image in my mind made me say how could a mother leave her children all by themselves in the hands of her drunk, ill-tempered husband. It was later explained why but still her reason was not enough to just abandon her children. 

Furthermore, some people find it hard to believe that a six-year-old girl can survive by herself. As far as I’m concerned, this is actually possible. Children who are born in poverty are forced to act like adults to take care of themselves and their siblings. A child needs to be brave, observant of what adults do, and smart in order to survive and Kya had those characteristics. 

Where the Crawdads Sing is highly recommended for those who love mystery. It’s a page-turner that would leave you gaping in the end. 

Discussion Questions

1.What do you think about the title? 

2.Describe the dynamics in Kya’s family. 

3. Is it plausible for a six-year-old child to survive in the shack in the middle of a marsh?

4. What are the other parts of the story that you find unrealistic?

5. Was the author able to stall the mystery until the end of the novel? In what way?

Further Information

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (August 14, 2018)

Publication Date: August 14, 2018

Print length: 379 pages



First Line: 

"The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh’s moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog."