Clap When You Land is a young adult contemporary verse novel written by Elizabeth Acevedo. It is a heartfelt coming-to-age novel that delves into issues of family situations, grief, poverty, and ultimately forgiveness. Before you know it you are invested in the beautiful text and attached to these characters not wanting to let them go.
Clap When You Land is a duel narrative that follows sisters Camino Rios who lives in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira Rios who lives in New York City. Camino and Yahaira did not know about each other until their father dies in a plane crash. It turns out that he was living two completely different lives with many secrets that will now never have answers. Feeling the weight of his loss and his secrets, Camino and Yahaira are forced to pick up the broken pieces together.
Elizabeth Acevedo is so skilled at writing verse novels. She writes the text in such a beautiful manner. Each of the characters are uniquely written and each have developed their own personalities and have been through their own life experiences. I loved the build up to them meeting in person. Their initial relationship was awkward but there was growth as they connected and learned to understand each other. I also enjoyed that Camino and Yahaira represented the different backgrounds that they came from which also reflected the different lives that their father was living. Family relationships can be complicated and Clap When You Land provides a good realistic representation of these complications.
The events of Clap When You Land were inspired by an actual plane crash that occurred in November of 2001. Flight AA587 crashed in Queens, NY while on the way to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and resulted in the death of 265 people. Of the 265 people, 90% of them were of Dominican descent. Prior to reading Clap When You Land, I had not heard of these events but was now given the opportunity to reflect on them and see how they affected the Dominican Republic and the Dominican Republican community. It was a beautiful heartfelt commemoration of a tragic situation. Elizabeth Acevedo does such an excellent job bringing human emotions into her books and she is quickly becoming a “must read” author for me!
Rating: 4 Stars