Clap When You Land
Trigger Warnings: Death of a parent, sexual assault, stalking, plane crash
Clap When You Land is a novel-in-verse, duo POV, about grief and love. Camino Rios' favorite time of the year is the summer when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But when his place is supposed to land, Camino is met at the airport to crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called into the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father died in a plane crash. Separated by distance - and their Papi's secrets - the two girls must face this new altered reality. But then, when it all seems like their father has completely disappeared, they learn of each other.
I lost my father suddenly myself at twelve-years-old, this book made me cry at what the girls were going through.
"For the rest of my life I will sit & imagine
what my father would say in any given moment.
& I will make him up:
his words, his advice, our memories."
I still do this, sixteen years later...
Both girls have their own struggles, but Camino especially does. Now that her father isn't alive to pay him off, the local pimp, a man called El Cero, begins following her around. All she wants to do is escape the island, go to New York to study premed, and have a chance at a better life than what she sees around her. Then, Yahaira finds her on social media and it changes everything she thought she knew about her father.
This was beautifully done - the girls discovering their father wasn't perfect, that their hero was complexed and flawed. Even though he was a good father, he wasn't the greatest husband. Both girls are matured by the intensity of their loss and the discoveries made afterwards and they take a lot of others grief into their own hands, especially Yahaira and her Mom.
I can't say enough praise for Elizabeth Acevedo and the way she cuts and merges words together. I use to be wary of books in verse form but the way Acevedo writes really makes you stop and think. It grips at your heart.
I will always highly recommend Acevedo to anyone to read.
"Never, ever, let them see you sweat, negra.
Fight until you can't breathe, & if you have to forfeit,
you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win."