12 Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing: Swamps, Courtrooms, Small Towns and Nature

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A book that immerses you in a richly drawn world is a joy to read. If you found yourself captivated by the wild landscape and strong female lead in Where the Crawdads Sing, we’ve curated a list of ten books like Where the Crawdads Sing that will keep the good feelings flowing.

Our list of books like Where the Crawdads Sing draws on the many traits readers loved about this bestseller. We’ve got tomboys, scientists, survivalists, courtroom drama, small town prejudice, and startlingly beautiful natural phenomena all wrapped up for you. So grab a book and prepare to be transported!

Books like Where the Crawdads Sing, with book covers.

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12 Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing

If you’ve read the book for book club, be sure to use our Where the Crawdads Sing discussion guide to get the conversation going.

Euphoria, Lily King

If you enjoy reading about strong, independent female scientists like Kya, you’ll love Euphoria’s leading lady, Nell Stone.

Deep in the jungles of 1933 New Guinea, a trio of anthropologists search for answers about human nature in the behavior of previously uncontacted tribes. The trio consists of Nell Stone, a renowned anthropologist who’s not afraid to make bold claims, her bushwhacking husband Fen, and a cautious graduate student, Andrew Bankson. When romance flares between Nell and Andrew, the group dynamics become more dangerous than anything that lurks in the wilderness.

Like Where the Crawdads Sing, Euphoria focuses on characters with a close connection to the wilderness. The wild setting draws out the more extreme sides of human nature: our capacity for observation, wonder, adaptation, and brutality.

Swamplandia!, Karen Russell

If you’re looking for another wetland adventure to follow up Crawdads, Swamplandia! is a great choice. 

Ava Bigtree comes from a long line of alligator wrestlers. Her family has been running Swamplandia!, a wilderness theme-park perched on an island in the Florida Everglades, for generations. But when Ava’s famous mother passes away and a rival theme-park moves in on Swamplandia’s territory, Ava’s way of life begins to dissolve around her. Deserted by her father and brother, Ava launches a bold mission to rescue her sister, who has been seduced by a ghostly dredgeman far out in the swamp. 

Full of dark, glittering descriptions of nature and a wry compassion for those people who survive on the outskirts of society, Swamplandia! has a lot to offer for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing.

The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner

This novel follows three teens from a small southern town who are just about to graduate from high school. Lydia is going off to college, which is a new beginning for her, but it feels like an ending for her friend Dill. And Travis loses himself in fantasy books in order to escape his abusive father.

You don’t get the swamp with this book. But you do get painful family dynamics, a suffocating small town vibe, and three immensely touching coming of age stories.

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd is known for writing strong female characters with deep roots in their setting. If you’re looking for books similar to Where the Crawdads Sing, any of Kidd’s novels might suffice. We recommend The Invention of Wings as a good starting place!

When Charleston aristocrat Sarah Grimke is forced to accept a young slave named Hetty as her eleventh birthday present, neither Sarah nor Hetty are pleased. Philosophical and ambitious Sarah is disgusted by the institution of slavery, and Hetty longs for freedom and safety for herself and her mother. As their story unfolds over years, the two women overcome their differences to help each other climb towards the life they want.

Based on the true story of a famous abolitionist, The Invention of Wings brings history to life in vivid detail. Like Where the Crawdads Sing, the novel explores themes of prejudice, social isolation, bravery, and hope.

Read this one for book club and use our The Invention of Wings book club guide.

Birds of a Lesser Paradise, Megan Mayhew-Bergman

If you couldn’t read Where the Crawdads Sing fast enough, we have the perfect solution for you. Birds of a Lesser Paradise is a collection of snappy, environmentally-themed short stories that you can read on your lunch break!

From a woman seeking a parrot that can imitate her dead mother’s voice to a recovering alcoholic called in to care for a troop of lemurs during a snowstorm, Birds of a Lesser Paradise uses eccentric characters to explore unexpectedly universal human experiences. Sensitive, humorous, and incredibly biodiverse, these short stories will stay with you long after you’ve read them.

Eye of the Whale, Douglas Abrams Carlton

It’s not everyday that you come across an “eco-thriller” successfully blending environmental awareness with an action-packed plot. If you liked reading Where the Crawdads Sing and want to keep exploring the genre, Eye of the Whale can teach you what an eco-thriller is all about.

Elizabeth McKay has accepted the fact that her scientific research into whale songs will be largely ignored by the public. Her intuitive connection with whales, suggesting that deeper mysteries lie beneath the structure of their songs, is enough to drive her to continue her research, even if it means sacrificing a normal family life. But when a humpback whale swims up the Sacramento River singing a ghostly new song, a spotlight suddenly blazes on Elizabeth’s work. With that spotlight comes attention from powerful industry leaders who prefer that she, and the whales, remain silent.  

Eye of the Whale hits the perfect trifecta: educational, emotional, and exciting. If you were rooting for Kya and her beloved marsh, you’ll fall in love with Elizabeth and her whales too!

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver

If you were touched by the depiction of rural poverty in Where the Crawdads Sing, Barbara Kingsolver has several novels that might interest you. Flight Behavior places a special emphasis on humanity’s connection with nature, making it a great fit for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing.

Dellarobia Turnbow feels crushed by her failing farm, unhappy marriage, and clamorous children. She is desperate for any sort of escape when she stumbles on a miracle: a forest glade full of monarch butterflies blown off their migration course. Soon, Dellarobia’s town is overrun with scientists, environmental activists, and religious zealots, all of whom clash with the local people. Within the chaos, Dellarobia finds a chance to grow into the woman she gave up hoping she could be years ago.

Like Where the Crawdads Sing, Flight Behavior explores the ways nature can challenge and sustain impoverished communities. The novel offers a nuanced look at the many angles by which humans explain, use, and need nature.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

A classic examination of small town prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird harmonizes neatly with Where the Crawdads Sing. Even if you read it in high school, this could be the perfect moment to re-read Harper Lee’s beloved novel.

Scout idolizes her father Atticus, the bighearted and well-read lawyer of a small town in Alabama, even if she is too rebellious to show it. When Atticus is called upon to defend a Black man charged with raping a White woman, Scout’s childhood adventures are interrupted by the turmoil surrounding the case. Naturally, Scout is on her father’s side, but her warm view of her hometown darkens as her neighbors align themselves against Atticus and his client.

Like Where the Crawdads Sing, To Kill a Mockingbird uses courtroom drama to guide its plot towards a high-stakes ending. The novel also lingers over a young tomboy’s experience of growing up. Like Kya, the high-spirited Scout is reluctant to accept restrictive feminine clothes, language, and relationships. It’s a nostalgic read for any girl who grew up catching bugs and climbing trees.

My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent

If you felt pumped up by the survival skills Kya demonstrated in Where the Crawdads Sing, you’ll be taken in by the tough young protagonist of My Absolute Darling.

Turtle Alveston may not know how to blend in with her high school classmates, but she knows how to stockpile food, clean a gun, and navigate the redwood forests of California. She has been well trained by her father, Martin, the only person who understands her. But when a new friend, Jacob, finds a crack in Turtle’s shell of indifference, Turtle begins to understand that the reason Martin understands her is because he has masterfully controlled, manipulated, and abused her. Determined to become her own person, she flees into the wilderness, counting on her survival skills to keep her alive.

With its strong heroine and vivid descriptions of nature, My Absolute Darling is very comparable to Where the Crawdads Sing. The books tackles hard topics like sexual abuse and gaslighting, but it also highlights the power of friendship to offer us new perspectives and hope. 

The Tale of Murasaki, Liza Dalby

Set in eleventh century Japan, the Tale of Murasaki features an extraordinary young woman trying to defend her place in society, much like Kya in Where the Crawdads Sing.

Brought up in the rural provinces of Japan by her father, a noble exile, Murasaki Shikibu shows an unusual sensitivity to nature and art from a young age. When an arranged marriage forces Murasaki to leave her rural life and take her place in the royal court, Murasaki begins writing stories to stave off her longing for a lost life, but her “Gengi Tales” only draw more attention to her and stifle her hope of being allowed to retire from court. 

Set in an enchanting world that has been mostly lost to history, The Tale of Murasaki depicts the quiet passions of an introverted woman and her struggle to be understood and respected by a society based on ambition and glamor. It’s a lovely follow-up for Where the Crawdads Sing!

The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff

With fireflies and heron feathers, Where the Crawdads Sing hints at the undercurrent of magic flowing through its marshes. The Monsters of Templeton allows magic to surface completely when a monster carcass washes up on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass.

The day Wilhemina Cooper returns to her hometown in rural New York is not a happy one for her. Still reeling from a disastrous love affair with an older professor, Willie dreads the town’s gossip, until her personal problems are dwarfed by the discovery of a dead monster in Lake Glimmerglass. Willie’s story becomes unexpectedly intertwined with the monster as she investigates her family’s secret history and tries to make sense of her own identity in a world full of surprises.

A fun romp of a novel, The Monsters of Templeton offers a rich setting and a well-developed plot to delight fans of Where the Crawdads Sing. You may also be refreshed by the comedy of manners that plays out in Monsters of Templeton, as compared to the more serious characterization in Where the Crawdads Sing.

Educated, Tara Westover

In this memoir, Westover doesn’t grow up in a swamp, she grows up in the sticks of Northern Utah. But the themes of abuse, abandonment, resilience and self-education are all there. Westover grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon family with a tyrannical mentally ill father, an inattentive mother and a cruel brother.

She struggles to overcome the odds by educating herself and getting out of Dodge. This book has a well-written narrative arc and lots of feels.

Read this one for book club and use our Educated discussion guide.

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