Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

As promised, I’m sharing my thoughts on the books I read on holiday a few weeks ago. So far, I’ve shared my thoughts on Out of Love by Hazel Hayes, The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, Madam by Phoebe Wynne and

Following on from some fun, female-led fiction, I picked up Clap When You Land. I might have read it a day before I flew back home to the U.K. but I throughly enjoyed reading this completely different style of fiction to what I’m used to.


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.

My Thoughts

I’d seen this book everywhere for months and, up until this month, I hadn’t picked it up. Though I’ll happily read everything and anything, a part of me struggles when I’m confronted with a narrative style that’s completely different from what I’m used to and, as a novel in verse, Clap When You Land was very different for me.

Though it took some time getting used to, there’s no denying the sheer beauty of this narrative. In a way that is so effortless and undeniably gorgeous, Acevedo takes the reader through the heartbreak, the trauma and the secrets that swirl around the lives of two different women — connected in ways they never fully knew. I truly felt for the two sisters as they grappled with loss but I rejoiced when they came together despite the circumstances.

I’m so used to easy going, light stories that I was knocked by this one. It is visceral and wrenching as you feel every bit of pain that the characters do. Through the girls, the reader is given answers but these answers are never concrete. Acevedo nails the fact that death leaves a massive question mark around a person, as everyone fills the gap with the information they know and — often — information you can never prepare yourself for comes out. The two characters are struggling with loss yet there are so many displays of strength in this it is astounding.

I loved that Yahaira and Dre’s relationship offers a bit of comfort and joy in a narrative that is weighed down by death. It is so gorgeous and tender to read and it feels like a comfort blanket not just for Yahaira but also for the reader.

Clap When You Land is not just a story of loss. It is a story of hope, of identity, of family, of love. I usually think I can sum books up in these reviews but, in terms of this one, I don’t think I have the words to show how good this book is.

You can find Elizabeth on her website, Instagram and Twitter.

You can buy this book here.

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