Where the Crawdads Sing: What race is Kya, how old was she when her dad left and did Tate or her mom ever come back?

**SPOILER ALERT** All you need to know about the girl at the outset of the novel adaptation.

Where the Crawdads sing
(Image credit: Sony Pictures official trailer)

As the adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing is about to hit cinemas, aside from asking is it based on a true story? (opens in new tab), fans are wondering what race is Kya, how old was she when her dad left and did Tate or her mom ever come back?

If you've not read the book or are planning on watching the film there are some spoilers ahead, so if you want to get a better idea of the storyline read on and if not, bookmark and return once you're read the novel or seen the film.

The worldwide phenomenon and best-selling book by Delia Owens, is coming to the big screen, featuring an original song from Taylor Swift, exclusively at cinemas from Friday, July 22. As we look at what fans want to know about the leading lady Kya (played by Daisy Edgar Jones)...

What race is Kya in Where the Crawdads Sing?

It can be safely assumed that Kya in Where the Crawdads Sing and her family are white as Kya refers to herself as "white trash". According to The Bibliofile (opens in new tab) commenter Si Aspen adds: On pg 222 of the book, there is a conversation between Kya and Jumpin. It states, “In another time and place, an old black man and a young white woman might have hugged. But not there, not then.” So that confirms that Kya is white.

How old was Kya when her dad left her?

Kya was 10 years old when her dad left her. The violent alcoholic is a disabled veteran who takes his trauma out on all of his children - including Missy, Murph, Mandy and Jodie and after his wife leaves he is regularly absent until he abandons Kya for good. 

Kya's dad served in the trenches of World War II until he sustained an injury and received an honourable discharge. But he keeps secret the detail that his injury was the result of being too cowardly to move from his place on the battlefield.

In 1952, aged just six, Kya - full name Catherine Danielle Clark - watches her mother abandon her and the rest of the family. As she waits for her mother's return, her older siblings all leave due to experiencing their father's drinking and physical abuse.

Does Kya's mom ever come back?

No, Kya's mom never came back as she suffered a mental illness and died of leukaemia. Kya's ma ran away to New Orleans when she left Kya's home. Kya's brother Jodie breaks the news of their mother's death which took place two years prior, when he returns from the army. Kya forgives her mother for leaving but she struggles to understand why she never returned. It's their aunt Rosemary who got in touch with Jodie via the army and it becomes apparent that their Ma had written to the family, wanting to see her children but their father threatened her if she ever returned. 

Where the Crawdads Sing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Trailer)

Does Tate come back for Kya?

Tate does return to town after cursing himself for leaving Kya. Tate Walker is a young boy who is four years older that Kya, who's 14. He who befriends Kya when he begins to visit her and teaches her to read. He gives her his old text books from school and when Kya is 15 they go on to develop a romantic relationship but Tate insists that they don't have sex until she is older. He leaves Kya to go to college but he finds it hard to forget about her. Their relationship temporarily ends when he leaves.

In both the book and the movie, Tate gives aspiring author Kya a list of potential publishers so that her work can be seen. In the novel, Tate shares this list after he's already left for college and returned as a means of reconciling with her. whereas the film has Tate making this gesture - and Kya doesn't consider it until she's cash-strapped for money to pay back taxes on her property before he heads to school.

When Tate leaves it gives bachelor Chase Andrews an opportunity to romance her in secret. Kya later becomes accused of killing her boyfriend Chase. And the story ends with Kya being found not guilty by the jury and she is set free. Kya moves on with her life by getting back together with Tate, whom she realised she loved all along. She goes on to write several books, and reconnects with her siblings. but despite growing to an old age, she dies on her boat on the marsh. It is only after he death that Tate realises Kya really did kill Chase when he finds the seashell necklace she left behind in a book.

Where the Crawdads Sing is in cinemas July 22, 2022.

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Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for Goodto.com, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.