Elizabeth Acevedo is back to verse in her new novel, Clap When You Land, on sale everywhere May 5, 2020. I LOVED the Poet X, and With the Fire on High was also great, and in prose, and I had high hopes for this book! Overall, it was pretty good, and I liked the premise, especially after reading the author’s note, but I just didn’t connect with this emotionally quite as much.It’s entirely possible that’s simply because father-based stories don’t draw me in, but the book was a good read and I hope will be well received.
A tragic plane crash brings together two girls with very different lives, united by a father who died in the crash with so many secrets left behind. Camino has lived in the Dominican Republic her whole life, raised by her Tia after the death of her mother many years ago–and she knows her father as the man who sends money from the US and visits each summer. He was flying to see her when the crash occurred.He was flying away from his life in Morningside Heights, where he lived with a wife and a daughter, Yahaira, a former Chess prodigy who has given it up after finding out family secrets. What begins as a tragedy for two sets of people ends up bridging an ocean and bringing about a new kind of family and a new kind of grace for them all, including the father who lied for years but loved both girls nonetheless.
I really enjoyed this book.It alternates in verse poems between Camino and Yaharia, and their different experiences and stories, but they do have a few chapters where they meld together and you as a reader can tell their stories apart, but they aren’t necessarily labeled as separate because of how intertwined their narratives are, which I think is cool. I thought this story had a pretty obvious ending, but it was the right ending. El Cero gave me creeps and Tia should have used the machete, but whatever. I don’t make the rules. I wasn’t super connected to this emotionally since father-based stories aren’t really my jam (for good or bad reasons!) and therefore I didn’t get super invested in that narrative, but I loved seeing how the stories came together and intertwined and the verse was great, as always.