This book gets ALL THE STARS. I texted several friends and my mom while reading it to tell them that they all HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. Then, as soon as I was finished, I went to my husband, tears literally streaming down my face and told him he had to read it. It’s that good!!
Kya is a little girl, abandoned by her family on the marshy coastline of North Carolina in the early 1950s. She eludes child protective services and truant officers and she survives by digging mussels and selling them to a Black man who sells gas for boats on the water (not really a marina gas station in 1952). The white people in town don’t accept the little girl, they won’t let their children near her when she comes into town to buy groceries – grits, all she can afford. But the colored community accepts her as one of their own, although she chooses to live a rather solitary life in her grandfather’s fishing shack on the marsh. The one exception is a young boy who is often fishing on the marsh and befriends her.
This is an absolutely beautiful story. There is so much in it. A deep reverence for nature and I hope that the popularity of this book means that people appreciate and understand that. True learning – as a homeschool mom, I believe that you don’t need to be in a classroom to learn; Kya never stepped foot in a classroom and yet the author shows and tells how she is smarter than many of the smartest people in town and she ends up being accepted as a renown naturalist. A beautiful love story between the young fishing boy and Kya.
But this book is not just about beautiful things. The star quarterback, the alpha male in town is found murdered and after an investigation, the police accuse Kya of the murder and she has to stand trial. This girl who has lived in the marsh, not been accepted by the townspeople and is so uncomfortable in the world where there are people and buildings and rules so different than that of nature.
This is such a beautiful, powerful and moving novel. I recommend it to everyone.