Friday 12 February 2021

Clap When You Land by: Elizabeth Acevedo

 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Poetry, Contemporary 

Published: May 5, 2020 by: Hot Key Books 

Pages: 417 

Rating: 5/5 stars 

CW: grief, loss of a parent, predatory behaviour, emotional manipulation 

Camino lives in the Dominican Republic, and every summer, her father returns home from working in the States to stay with her. However, one summer, when he is supposed to land, Camino finds out that his plane crashed, killing everyone on board. Camino is devastated, but things get even more shocking when she discovers that her father not only had a life in the Dominican Republic, but also in the States. 

When Yahaira finds out that her father has died in a plane crash, she is struck with grief. But soon, secrets of her father come out. Now she is being sent to the Dominican Republic to meet a sister she never knew existed. Together, both girls grapple with the grief of losing their father, but also with the lies that he fed them all these years. 

This was my first of Acevedo's verse novels. I absolutely loved "With the Fire on High," and I know most people rave about Acevedo's novels in verse as well. So, I knew I had to give this book a shot. This novel was heartbreaking, though beautifully written, and so emotionally gripping. The characters were extremely well-written, and this was definitely a story to remember. 

First off, I loved that I could still connect with these characters despite the novel being in verse. I was scared that this book wouldn't have too much description in it due to the poetic structure, and I would be left guessing how to imagine the characters. But, Acevedo still does a fantastic job at developing both Camino and Yahaira. If anything, I got to know their inner thoughts better through the verse. I really think that the poetic structure allowed for me to get an in-depth look into each of these character's minds. This novel felt really personal, and I loved that. 

I also loved that this book dealt with a number of unique topics. Yes, the girls are grieving the loss of a parent. But, they are also dealing with the fact that their father was lying to them all their lives. This struggle of wanting to grieve, but also wanting to be mad at their father was handled very well. I think Acevedo portrayed the duality between grief and anger really well. It is something that makes this book about grief very unique. 

I flew through this book. The verse style gave it a stream of consciousness feeling. I couldn't put it down, in fact I read it in one sitting. I loved how we got both perspectives of the girls throughout the text, so I could learn how each girl was dealing separately. I think this novel deals with many complex topics that are handled very well. Overall, this book gave me a love for novels in verse, and now I will pretty much read any novel in verse. Acevedo writes so well. 

Have you read Clap When You Land? What did you think? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. Awesome! I've been wanting to read some of Acevedo's novel-in-verse books for a while 'cos I always loved videos of her poetry slam performances on YouTube :)

    1. I've never seen her youtube performances, I'll have to check them out!

    2. Ooh you should, they're awesome!