This is such a special book, full of nature and emotion. It’s set in the marshes of North Carolina, and the descriptions gave me such a detailed picture of the setting – it really is beautifully written. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read – a surprise given without recommendation I wouldn’t have picked it up. Kya is a wonderful character that had my heart immediately – I wanted to rescue her and protect her from all the people that harmed her during her life. I was also charmed by the emphasis on the natural world – I love wildlife and being out in nature so it was perfect to have a book with so much detail in that sense. Delia’s background really shone through in terms of authenticity.
Star rating: 5 stars
Catherine Daniellie Clark – known as Kya since she was small, lives alone in her shack in the marsh. Abandoned by every member of her family as she was growing up (abusive, alcoholic father drove her mother and siblings away and then left himself), Kya learns to fend for herself for a young age. She trades mussels for money and when this dries up, trades smoked fish for essentials. She learns about her environment, and makes friends with a kind boy called Tate, who teaches her to read and shares his old books with her.
Kya is so intelligent, throwing herself into reading and using her new found skill to educate herself. She’s a talented artist, carefully recording all of the species around her, documenting their characteristics. When Tate leaves for college, he doesn’t visit her, leaving her heartbroken. She is drawn into the web of Chase Andrews, a popular boy, a jerk, and a terrible human who I hated so much. Kya deserves the world and more, not some horrible man using her and promising her things he’ll never give.
This is a gripping story, from it’s exploration of nature and character, to a thrilling murder trial that had me on edge for the duration. Race and class are explored throughout the plot. The ending is heartbreaking, not so surprising on reflection, and definitely fitting. I loved this story, it is a very unique book. I highly recommend it even if it doesn’t seem like it would be your thing.
You can check out my friend Jaye’s 5 star review here.