Hi everyone! Today I’m writing another review! This is the first review in a while that I’ve written that wasn’t about an ARC, because I’ve been really really REALLY behind on all my reviews this year. I want to catch up to them all, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to write reviews on everything I’ve read that I haven’t reviewed yet. If you are an OwnVoices reviewer, please let me know because I would love to link to your review!
Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Release date: May 5th 2020
Genre: LGBT, Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
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.
This was my first book by Elizabeth Acevado, and it was such an emotional, hard hitting experience! I ended up listening to this one on audio, and it was a wonderful way to read this book however I do wish that I also had a physical copy to follow along with. When I read books with other languages in them, I like to use translation websites so that I can get the full impact of the book and by me listening to this on audio, I wasn’t sure how to spell any of the Spanish words to see what they mean, but I was still able to understand what the characters were talking about through context clues. That however is COMPLETELY on me and my lack of understanding of other languages, and didn’t impact any enjoyment that I had with the book, and I’m so happy to see books that are unapologetic in how they represent language and cultures like this! This book was not written for me, therefore it does not matter that I do not understand Spanish. (Also, I just want to say if you are one of those white people who complain about not being able to understand words in other languages without doing your part to look them up, you are part of the problem).
Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt after her mother passed away. She looks forward to her father returning to her for part of the year, while also hoping that one day he will bring her to America to become a doctor. On the day he is supposed to arrive, Camino learns at the airport that his plane has crashed and there were no survivors. This plane crash is also based on a true event – in November 2001, not long after 9/11, a plane crashed on it’s way from New York City to the Dominican Republic and killed all passengers, the majority of which were of Dominican descent.
Then we also have Yahaira who lives in New York City with her mother, where she is pulled out of class to be given the news that her father has died in a plane crash on his way to what they believe is a business trip. She knows that her father has been hiding secrets from her and her mother, but she still sees him as her hero. For those wondering where the LGBT+ rep comes into play, Yahaira is in a F/F relationship with a Black woman.
I loved reading about the experiences that Camino and Yahaira had because they are so different than mine, and even the differences between the two of them growing up in the US and the Dominican Republic while having so many similarities was so powerful to read about. I can’t speak as to the representation (as I am as white as they come) but the way that these two girls crossed the divides between them to come together in their time of grief was just so emotional to read.
I was a little nervous about this book being in verse, because that isn’t usually the kind of storytelling that I reach for, but as with Long Way Down, I was surprised to see that I hardly noticed the verse when listening to the audiobook. The story flowed so nicely and the way this was written really helped make this a powerful read. And then the ending, I just sat there with tears in my eyes with the final sentences and the title, and where these two girls ended up just coming together in such a beautiful, heartbreaking way.
There are trigger warnings with this book, including: sexual assault, death of a parent, and grief.
Please check out these OwnVoices reviews for more on this wonderful book! If you are an OwnVoices reviewer, let me know so I can add a link to your review!
Woven from Words Review
Feminist Book Club Review