At only age 5, Kya watched her mother carry her suitcase and walk away from their shack in the swamp, without even a glance back. Most of her siblings already having gone, her older brother Jodie, her protector and confidant, soon said his goodbye as well. It was then down to only Kya and her father, Jake, who was as stingy and unpredictable as his disability checks. Fortunately, Jodie had coached her well on how to navigate her way around the swamp, how to make herself disappear, and most importantly, how to appreciate the natural wonders around her. Because of the caring eye of a few who did look out for her, Kya did become much more than merely the “Marsh Girl.” But did the Marsh Girl also become someone capable of murder?
This is a riveting story, yet one told with subtlety and beauty and utter sadness. The innocent heartbreak of young Kya just tears at your heart and you can’t help feeling her loneliness yourself. Because the writing feels so intimate, as Kya grows, you feel her loss and vulnerability and her few victories personally, as if going through them yourself. And the analogies from nature all around her are quite striking.
My favorite writing technique of flipping from one time period to another is used in this story to full advantage. Going from when Kya is tiny and left alone to fast forward, when a dead body is found in the marsh, helps to lay down the root of a suspense that grows over the course of the story. It doesn’t play much of a role in the earlier part of the book, because we are so taken with little Kya, but it builds greatly later on as it comes to a crescendo. It’s really quite patiently and beautifully constructed.
If you haven’t guessed already, this is definitely a “MUST READ.” It’s beautiful, well-written, so very sad, but also suspenseful – definitely could not put it down! Highly recommend it!