My book review of 'Clap When You Land' by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land

by Elizabeth Acevedo
Recommended age: Teen
Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is an extraordinary dual narrative novel written in blank verse, aimed at the young adult readership.

It is a stunning book in concept and in execution, presenting the devastation of loss and the difficulty of forgiveness while also illustrating the intricate way in which our lives interlace.

It was inspired by the loss of an American Airlines flight bound for the Domenican Republic which crashed in New York in 2001. All 260 people on board were killed. It happened two months after 9/11 so received little media attention, but it had a huge impact on the close-knit Domenican community. Everyone seemed to know someone who was grieving. 

As stories began to emerge about those who had lost their lives, the writer Elizabeth Acevedo became intrigued by the secrets which were revealed.

In this story she tells of two 16-year-old sisters.

Camino is in the Domenican Republic. She's arrived at the airport to meet her father who visits each summer. She's excited to see him again, but the building is full of people crying. 

In New York City, Yahaira is at school and 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. 

The girls live at opposite sides of the world, and don't know of each other's existence. In coming to terms with the loss of their father they also have to confront his secrets.

Review date: August 2020