Today I’m wrapping up booksandbevs7’s Elizabeth Acevedo series with Clap When You Land. In this powerful work, Acevedo returns to the novel-in-verse format. This style of writing really showcases her immense talent for storytelling. It also creates a sense of intimacy and transparency for the reader. The emotions that drive the characters are laid bare; their inner thoughts illuminated.
Clap When You Land begins with tragedy. The two main characters, Camino and Yahaira, live in different countries, separated by miles and miles of land and water. Yet they are confronted with the same devastating news. Camino Rios discovers this news when she decides to skip out of school early and head to the airport, to meet up with her father who is flying into the Dominican Republic from New York, for his annual visit to see her. But once Camino gets to the airport, she quickly senses something is wrong. People waiting in the terminal for arrivals are clearly distraught. Many are crying. Camino immediately knows her father’s flight never made it in.
Meanwhile in New York, Yahaira Rios will soon receive the same news, when she is unexpectedly called into the principal’s office. As she enters the room, she sees her mother standing there, with tearful eyes and trembling lips. Yahaira’s worst fear is confirmed. Her father didn’t make it safely to the Dominican Republic. Her Papi’s dead.
Clap When You Land tells the story of two girls, two sisters, who until the untimely death of their father, were unaware of each other’s existence. They were seperated by secrets and lies. But their shared loss will bring them face to face. As they struggle to create a path forward, they will learn that they share more in common than just their grief.
Clap When You Land is such a beautifully crafted story. The characters are complex and multi-dimensional; their energy resonating from page to page. The thrust of the story centers primarily around the heartache both Camino and Yahaira are experiencing. That heartache is laced with anger, confusion, and sometimes desperation. As is the case with family drama, the dynamics are often complicated and messy. Clap When You Land definitely illustrates all of that. But it also shows how to rebuild and redefine life after a great loss, as well as the mixed emotions that come with discovering family you never knew you had.