Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th, 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Poetry, Young Adult
“Fight until you can’t breathe, & if you have to forfeit, you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win.”
Elizabeth Acevedo is such a shining light in the YA community. She always brings something refreshing to each novel. And I love her style of poetry/prose.
In Clap When You Land, 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.
I’m declaring now that I will read anything Acevedo writes.
Her unique style of prose poetry in the form of a novel has yet to not land with me.
She’s the master of creating beautiful sentences that make your heart stop because you know exactly the emotion she’s describing.
Her verse is such a delight to experience. I just know that I’m always going to enjoy her writing even if I don’t gel with the story.
I appreciated the basis for this story bringing attention to a little known tragedy that affected so many families. It’s crazy to think that I grew up knowing about September 11th, but had never heard even the tiniest bit of information about American Airlines flight 587.
I also enjoyed reading the story with duo perspectives. I’m such a sucker for sister stories and I’m glad Acevedo listened to her friend who encouraged her to write from the perspectives of both sisters.
It also brought a level of depth to the story.
You could see that despite living different lives, Camino and Yahaira are two sides of the same coin. Their experiences balance each other quite nicely.
My only sticking point is that pacing of the novel was all over the place. I didn’t mind that it was slower in the beginning, but it felt like the novel suddenly switched into high gear around the last 30% of the book.
Itw as jarring to suddenly have the back half of the book crammed with events. I wish Acevedo had spent more time focusing on the girls interacting with each other.
I would have even liked if they interacted with each other more over the phone, while spending time in DR together, their life post-tragedy together, etc.
While this isn’t my favourite from Acevedo, I still loved reading Clap When You Land. Anything she writes is still outstanding even if I don’t completely fall in love with it.
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