“Heart-wrenching…A fresh exploration of isolation and nature from a female perspective along with a compelling love story.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This story begins when the body of Chase Andrews, former High School star Quarterback and married playboy is found dead at the bottom of a tree tower and foul play is immediately suspected. Rumors will start to be heard that Kya Clark, the marsh girl is the most likely suspect.
The book then goes back to the story of Kya, who as a child is first abandoned by her sisters, then her Mom and finally her brother Jody, leaving her alone in the marsh with a drunk and abusive Dad. She maintains a relationship with her Dad for awhile, but the drinking comes back to him, and one day he leaves and he doesn’t come back home. She is now about 9 years old and she is all alone. She can’t read or write, but she knows the marshes like the back of her hand and by selling muscles and other fish to Jumpin’ a black shopkeeper who takes pity on her, buys what she sells, and his wife trades her old clothes for what they can’t sell, will allow Kya to survive.
After being forced to attend school for one day, she vows never to go back. She then meets Tate, a slightly older boy who was once friends with her brother Jody. He will teach her to read. They both share a love of science, a love of the marsh, and increasingly a love for each other. Tate will eventually go away to college, but vows to come back to her. That’s doesn’t happen as planned and eventually Kya falls under the spell of Chase Andrews. She will wise up when she finds out he is getting married, and she seems content to live her life alone on the marsh.
But the discovery of Chase’s body changes all of that.
The beginning of the book is a beautifully written coming of age story. You will be pulled in by Kya and her life. But, as in any coming of age story that enters into adulthood that feeling of beholding innocence is lost and we must dig in and confront reality. The second half of the book about the trial is also good, but not the page turner it was earlier. But in all, a very satisfying read, highly recommended.
Added 25th December 2018