While Kya is accused of murder in the Where the Crawdads Sing movie and book, the film adaptation makes some big changes to the character’s story.

Where The Crawdads Sing is adapted from Delia Owens’s 2018 novel, and the movie alters several things about its story. The book and its adaptation are about Catherine “Kya” Clark, who is also called “Marsh Girl” because she lives in a marsh in North Carolina and comes from a poverty-stricken family. The book is split into two parts and delves into Kya’s childhood and her life when she is 19, and the story shares her tough, resourceful, and independent personality. She has two love interests, Tate Walker and Chase Andrews, and after she is accused of murdering Chase, both the book and the movie focus on her trial.


Although the adaptation did well at the box office, Where The Crawdads Sing‘s author is controversial, which possibly kept it out of awards consideration outside of recognition for Taylor Swift’s original song, “Carolina.” Book-to-screen adaptations are also often criticized for omitting characters or condensing plot lines for the sake of time, and that’s true of Where the Crawdads Sing. The main plot and the characters remain the same in the book and the movie, but there are a few storylines that are more powerful and riveting in the novel than in the adaptation. One change results in a less thrilling and haunting ending, and the other doesn’t feel necessary.

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Kya Loves The Poet Amanda Hamilton In The Book

One of the biggest changes made for the Where The Crawdads Sing movie is Kya no longer enjoys the work of Amanda Hamilton. While it might seem like not talking about a poet wouldn’t impact the story much, this actually alters the Where the Crawdads Sing ending. In the book, when Kya has passed away, Tate reads a poem that she crafted in her diary, which reveals that she was indeed the one who killed Chase. It becomes clear that Kya also called herself “Amanda Hamilton.” In the movie, Tate finds the shell necklace that Kya gave Chase in her diary, which is an important clue in the case.

This isn’t the smartest change as it’s more compelling to find out that Kya wrote poetry under another name and that she once wrote a fictional version of the murder. Kya has a more accessible inner world in the book, despite the Where The Crawdads Sing movie characters being mostly fleshed out. While the necklace shares the same information, finding such an obvious clue feels like a story beat in a typical legal drama, and it’s not as unique as the poem. The thread of Kya being a writer is present in both versions of the story, and the poem speaks to her enjoyment of expressing herself on the page.

Kya Learns That Chase Is Engaged Differently

Kya drawing in Where The Crawdads Sing

Another change that the Where The Crawdads Sing film adaptation makes involves the scene when Kya realizes that Chase is getting married. Chase still wants a physical relationship with Kya, though, and later he even tries to assault her. The Where the Crawdads Sing true story is also about death, and this scene is crucial to why Kya kills Chase: to protect herself. The novel has Kya read the engagement announcement in the local paper, but the movie adaptation has her observe Chase’s fiancé wearing the ring. The book version works better because Kya loves to read and draw, and it makes sense she would learn the news this way.

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