My parents read Where the Crawdads Sing a couple of months ago. I decided to jump in and read it sooner rather than later so I could talk to them about it when it was still fairly fresh.
Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya, who is abandoned by all of her family by the age of 10. First her mother walks out of her abusive relationship, then slowly her siblings leave until she is left alone with her father. He stays for a few years before leaving her too. Kya grows up with the marshlands as her family, learning to survive and thrive thanks to the skills she picked up from her family before she was abandoned.
The story takes place between two timelimes: Kya's past, and 1969, when she is grown up and accused of murdering the town's star high-school quarterback. The first timeline is overall rather depressing as people leave her, or are prejudiced towards her, with a few notable exceptions, like Jumpin', the black man who sells Kya gas and takes care of her as best he can, his wife, Mabel, and Tate, a boy a few years older than Kya who befriends her and teaches her to read. In 1969, the story mostly follows the investigation of the death of Chase by the sheriff and his deputy, until the two timelines merge. I found the story got a lot more interesting once the timeliness merged (it was enjoyable before that, but fairly depressing, and a lot more meandering; it became a lot more focused once Kya was on trial). I also didn't see the ending coming, which was a fairly nice surprise, and elevated the book in my opinion.
While at times I had a hard time coming back to read the book (I started it before Christmas), overall I found it ab enjoyable read. I also enjoyed reading the back pages (the interview and note from the author).