Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – A Review

Hi! Happy publication day to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. It’s time for another review.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Publication date: May 5th 2020
  • Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre/Hot Key Books
  • Genre: Contemporary

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. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Clap When You Land is my first Elizabeth Acevedo book and one of very few stories written in verse I’ve ever read. After reading it I know I need to redeem both.

It’s a beautiful and heart-breaking story about family, grief and how a tragedy can bring people together. It follows two sisters who don’t know about each other’s existence until a plane crash claims the life of their father.
Camino finds out at the airport, waiting to pick him up. She lives with her aunt in the Dominican Republic and he visits every summer around her birthday. It’s her favourite time of the year.
Yahaira is in school when she’s called into the office and told what happened. Her dad lives with her and her mother in America and leaves “for business” at the same time every year. And this year, when he leaves things between them aren’t the greatest.

I loved reading from both girls’ perspectives. Their lives differ completely, yet before they even know about each other’s existence, what unites them is grief. Both loved their father dearly, but as they find out about each other and discover his second life, they have to deal with disappointment and realise their father was not a saint.

I don’t read many contemporaries, it’s definitely not my preferred genre, but I do enjoy ones that focus on family dynamics. Clap When You Land has so much of it, from the two different father-daughter relationships we see, through how different Yahaira is with her mother compared to how Camino views her aunt who raised her, and so many more. It also explores identity and the hardships of being raised poor. It talks about dreams and opportunities, and how one event can change the course of your whole life.

The writing is absolutely beautiful and harrowing, and the narration style makes the story very unique. I don’t read poetry often, nor do I find myself an expert in analising or reviewing it, but I appreciated the tone the free flowing verse set on the entire book. It made the narrative more raw and honest, and that kind of emotion is what made this book excellent.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I feel like this is a must-read for any contemporary lovers out there.

Thank you for reading, as always. I’ll talk to you soon.

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