“Clap When You Land” is one of my favorite books of 2020. It is a phenomenal book, and author Elizabeth Acevedo truly knocked it out of the park.
Brief Synopsis: “Clap When You Land” follows the story of New York City native Yahira Rios getting a life-blow when her father dies in a plane crash heading home to the Dominican Republic. She learned a deep secret of her father’s a year prior but is surprised with another: Yahira has a sister living in the Dominican Republic, Camino Rios.
This story hits close to home for several reasons. The first is the ongoing jokes about Caribbean fathers having two families. The second is the idea of clapping when you land, which is super immigrant and very much island culture. It’s a moment of gratitude to God for landing the plane safely. The third was remembering the crash of American Airlines flight 587; it was right here in Queens, New York. The flight was heading towards the Dominican Republic. I remember my mother crying for our island neighbors, reciting a novena for everyone who died.
This book is a super quick read. I did take a break in between reading it, but that was only because my brother was in town. It’s doable to read in one sitting.
The writing was poetry. After looking up Acevedo’s background information, everything made sense: she’s a poet and a slam poetry champion. The words flowed into one another. Each character, each scene, came together perfectly. I am floored by how much I enjoyed reading this book.
The book delves into how well children know their parents and what family secrets can reveal about family. Some secrets destroy families and people, but others, as we see in “Clap When You Land,” can bring families together.
The story, the writing, the authenticity of Dominican culture: “Clap When You Land” is one of my Top 5 reads of 2020.