Rating: 5 / 5
I loved Elizabeth Acevedo’s THE POET X and WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH, so when I heard she had a new book coming out I immediately preordered a copy. For this one, knowing that it was in verse I knew I wanted both the physical copy and the audio as well, so I listened as I read throughout the book.
CLAP WHEN YOU LAND is a novel in verse following two half-sisters, one in the Dominican Republic and one in New York. Their father has kept them in the dark about each other’s existence, spending summers in the DR with his daughter Camino and her aunt and the rest of the year in New York with his daughter Yahaira and his wife. When Camino gets to the airport to meet her father for his yearly visit, she learns that the plane went down in route. For Yahaira, her mother comes to pull her out of school with the news.
The novel is written from both girls’ points of view so we get to see life in the DR and in New York and their different families and lives through each of their eyes. The author plays with the verse, giving each sister their own distinct style as the narrative goes back and forth. The audio also uses two narrators (one of them being the author herself) to further help distinguish the sisters.
It is no surprise that I wound up loving this book! THE POET X was my first time reading a novel in verse and I loved the experience so much that I was initially disappointed when her second novel wasn’t in verse (though her writing is so lyrical in any format that the disappointment was short lived). Seeing the words on the paper and hearing the words through audio as she gave life to these two different girls with so much in common really made the story come alive.
The story is dealing with a lot of emotions from grief at the loss of their father and anger at the secrets he has been keeping from them both. I thought that the mixture of emotions came through very well throughout the book. For both girls, the loss of their father means a major restructuring for the life that they have and the future that they planned.
This was a read I was very much looking forward to and it absolutely did live up to my high expectations. Elizabeth Acevedo remains an auto-buy author for me!