Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Published: May 5, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 2-4, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
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.
Clap When You Land is inspired from what can be called the ‘Forgotten Flight’: American Airlines Flight 587 from JFK to Santo Domingo just a couple of months after 9/11. Flight AA587 crashed shortly after takeoff from JFK on 11/12/01 with 260 persons on board. Once terrorism was ruled out, it did in fact become the forgotten flight. The title comes from the tradition of applauding once a plane safely touches down upon landing. This novel written in verse focuses on grief, forgiveness, and sisterhood.
Camino and Yahaira both face the untimely death of their father via a plane crash. Their lives are changed forever, and it is just the beginning as they did not know of each other as their father, Papi, had a great many secrets. They are now having to deal with the memory of a man who was not who they thought he was (including two wives) and more.
What will the two girls do? They are from very different backgrounds as Camino lives in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira lives in New York. Can two girls from very different lifestyles with only a father in common meet and get along? Do they even want to? Both girls are sixteen but seemed older due to their life circumstances aside from the loss of Papi. There are many heavy themes dealt with over the course of the novel. And the reader also gets to learn of the Dominican culture through Camino. Both girls are our narrators and are likeable.
I listened to the audiobook version of Clap When You Land and I think that did help me with this novel as I am not a poetry reader and it is written in verse. This is the second novel in verse I have ‘read’ and both were audiobooks. Acevedo is one of the audiobook narrators herself! Listening to Clap When You Land you are fully pulled into the story and root for the girls and hope they find peace in their forever changed lives.
I listened to Clap When You Land as a part of #Diverseathon2021. The prompt for August is main characters in an interracial relationship (romantic/ friends/family). August’s host is Mary @booksbymary1 and she will host at Instagram.
Clap When You Land is recommended!