Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land is the story of two girls – Camino, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira, who lives in New York City. They have never met, never spoken, never known about each other’s existence, but when their father is killed in a plane crash on his way to visit Camino, they find each other in the midst of their grief.
Acevedo’s use of structure to express emotions is unparalleled; her line breaks are new and creative. She uses white space skilfully, and her formatting compliments the rhythm with the rise and fall of each lyric.
Although the central theme focuses on grief and the way in which both characters struggle with and overcome their sudden loss, the novel also focuses on the question of identity: what it means to belong to, and connect with a place, and how to accept the presence of human flaws within those we look up to.
Acevedo tells the story in a poignant, lyrical, and heartfelt way such that there is no other option but to cling onto every word and feel deep empathy for Camino and Yahaira, as their life changes drastically throughout the course of the novel.
It is incredibly moving and beautifully written; the tenderness and vulnerability that the author conveys through her writing evokes a sense of warmth and hope as the characters navigate through the disorientating darkness of loss.
Review written by Arpita G. , Sarah M. , Nicole J. and Maryam G. (Year 11 librarians)