Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: May 5, 2020
In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
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.
Teenager Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt. She loves the summer when her father visits from New York. When she goes to pick him up from the airport, she finds a crowd of devastated people who have just learned that the plane from New York to the Dominican Republic has crashed. At the same time, Yahaira is called into the school office in New York. She finds her mom there with the news that her father’s plane to the Dominican Republic has crashed. In the aftermath of their father’s death, Yahaira and Camino learn that he had a secret life that neither of his daughters knew about, including the existence of each other. His death devastated both of them, but it brought them together when they learned that they shared a father.
This was a heartbreaking story. Both Camino and Yahaira kept replaying the events of their father getting on a plane, hoping that he survived it. They counted the days after they got the news, in hopes that something would change. This story was inspired by a plane crash, which happened between New York and the Dominican Republic. Once that plane crash was determined not to be a terrorist event, the news stopped reporting on it, but it was still a life changing event for the family members of the victims. This story shows how the devastation affects the family, but it can also bring something positive to the survivors.
This was a beautifully written novel in verse. This is the perfect medium for this emotional story. The narrative switched between Camino’s and Yahaira’s perspectives, but I could always tell who was speaking because they had distinctive voices. The verses were easy to read. One thing that sped up my reading was that the word “and” was replaced with an ampersand (&). It made me notice how many times the word “and” is used, but it looked much neater on the page without the repetition of the word.
This really is a beautiful story! I highly recommend it.
What to read next:
Fight Like a Girl by Sheena Kamal
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Have you read Clap When You Land? What did you think of it?