Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Does she know of me? Would my father have told her? Did she share in his confidences? While the whole while he lied to me? Or is she the only one who would understand my heart right now? If I find her would I find a breathing piece of myself I had not known was missing?

Clap When You Land

Summary and Thoughts

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.


Another Acevedo hit – I really enjoyed this story and it may be my favorite from Acedevo yet. She artfully expresses the complicated grief of these girls through precise word choices in her poetry, creating a deeply moving piece. Acevedo evokes lush imagery in describing the world her characters inhabit using specific details, the writing especially impressive when the girls notice similarities between their hobbies (swimming and chess) and their struggles. This being said, like many other reviewers, I often found Yahaira and Camino’s voices somewhat similar and wished to know other facets of their lives to better know their distinct characters. I also felt the pacing weave in and out, which may have to do with the oppressive nature of grief the characters carry. Regardless, while this may not be my favorite read, it is still a lovely read nonetheless and a great entry-way into novels-in-verse for the who are new to this format of storytelling.

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

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