Clap When You Land
A novel-in-verse that explores the intricacies of love and mourning. Clap When You Land tells the story of Camino and Yahaira, two sisters whose fates become intertwined when a tragic accident forces them to discover the truth about their father—and each other.
On the day of her father’s arrival to the Dominican Republic, Camino Rios skips a math test to go to the airport, where she finds a group of people crowded around a TV screen. Across the pond in New York, Yahaira Rios is called into her school’s main office where her mother, red-eyed and weeping, awaits with news: Her father’s plane has crashed, and there are no survivors. As the sisters —who are unaware of one another’s existence—grapple with their grief and attempt to navigate a world without their father, they uncover their families’ long-kept secrets and eventually find their way to each other.
Clap When You Land is an affecting novel, one that portrays themes of grief, sexual assault, sisterhood, betrayal, cultural identity, and family with great care and empathy. It is written in alternating points of view, a technique that allows for a thorough exploration of the protagonists’ inner lives. Heartfelt and raw, Acevedo’s verse is deft at sifting through the complicated emotions that arise in the wake of great loss, and particularly poignant in those moments when it is not afraid to linger on the characters’ imperfections. A powerful and vibrant work that will leave you thinking long after you’ve put it down.
Elizabeth Acevedo is an Afro-Dominican poet and author of The Poet X and With the Fire on High. She is a National Poetry Slam champion and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. Find out more about her at http://www.acevedowrites.com/