Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Published by: Hot Key Books
Released: 5th May 2020
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.
In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
Trigger Warnings: Death, loss, grief, stalking, sexual harassment, some hints of sexual abuse
Camino and Yahaira are total strangers to one another, with Camino living in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira living in New York City. Well, that is until a tragedy brings both girls together. After their Papi is killed in a plane crash, the two girls are forced to confront a new reality where the man they looked up to, is gone, but when all seems lost they learn of one another. Now Camino and Yahaira must wrestle with what they mean to each other, and how they keep their prominent dreams alive in their moment of loss.
My first thought about Clap When You Land has to be WOW! What a book! This was my first time reading a piece of work by Elizabeth Acevedo and I must admit, I was blown away by everything. This book, you could say was like a work of art and I for one, was captivated by the beauty of it. I do love a novel written in verse and from all those I have read, I must say that this was probably my favourite yet. Acevedo has such a poetic talent for writing in verse and it’s simply stunning.
The story itself was really easy to follow and throughout the book you get taken on a journey of self discovery through the eyes of both Camino and Yahaira, and this dynamic certainly helps you to get to know both characters equally and on a personal level, which can be hard to do in some fiction. Also, the voices of both girls were totally unique to one another and I found it really easy to differentiate them when I was reading. Acevedo really has a way of bringing out the voices of her characters in such beautiful ways and I was all for that. Plot wise, I found myself utterly absorbed in the story and the way it flowed was astonishing. You didn’t feel the need to backtrack to remind yourself of what happened previously or find yourself confused. Every single thing within the book was needed and that made for an easy read. I also want to mention the locations within this book, especially that of the Dominican Republic. Having never been to that location, I found it to be a real eyeopener of the culture and what life is like there. It really did astound me as to how different life is there, and I felt like I learnt a lot about the country through Clap When You Land.
Many different topics are tackled throughout Clap When You Land, some being death, grief, sexual harassment and stalking. As stated in previous reviews these topics need to be spoken about more and featured in YA, so I really do admire Acevedo for putting issues such as these into her work. None of the stated issues are glamourised and bring to light the seriousness of each of them. I also feel that they could really help some teens who are going through some of these issues, to know they are not alone.
Clap When You Land was such a heartfelt, beautifully written story about loss and ultimately the coming together of family. I was instantly pulled in by the poetic writing style and found myself captivated within minutes. Overall it’s a gorgeous story about finding the light within darkness.