Review of Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land

by Elizabeth Acevedo
performed by the author and Melania-Luisa Marte

Quill Tree Books, 2020, 6 hours.
Review written July 4, 2020, from a library eaudiobook
Starred Review
2020 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#3 General Teen Fiction

As Clap When You Land begins, Camino goes to the airport in the Dominican Republic to greet her Papi, who comes to stay with her and her aunt every summer. But people at the airport are crying. Then we meet Yahaira in New York City. She is called to the office, where she sees her mother crying and learns that her Papi has been in a plane crash.

Both girls end up dealing with their Papi’s death in the plane crash, and then they have to deal with discovering that he was keeping secrets. So they’re dealing with grief, but also with discovering they have a sister their own age.

Since Yahaira’s mother was married to Papi first, she’s the one who gets insurance money from the airline. But Camino is the one who had relied on money from Papi for school and to keep from being harassed. Both girls look like Papi, and both inherited things from Papi. Camino loves swimming, and Yahaira used to play chess. Now they are figuring out who they are without him and how to go on with their lives.

It’s always a delight to listen to Elizabeth Acevedo read her own work. Her voice has a musical quality. This book is written in verse, though since I was listening rather than reading, I only noticed in spots.

It’s a powerful story of grief and hope and family secrets.

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Source: This review is based on an audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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