Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Written by Ryan R. Campbell

Ryan R. Campbell is an International Book Awards finalist, the founder of the Writescast Network, and the co-founder of Kill Your Darlings Candle Company.

Posted on January 12, 2021

Filed under Book Review

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones was a tough act to follow.

Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land proved more than up to the task.

Minor spoilers follow.

Clap When You Land is a tale of two sisters, neither of whom knows the other exists. Separated by an ocean, it seems their father’s distinct lives—one in New York City, the other in the Dominican Republic—are destined to never cross paths. But when his plane crashes on its way to the Dominican Republic, fate reverses course, drawing chess prodigy Yahaira and aspiring doctor Camino into each other’s orbits.

In Clap When You Land, Elizabeth Acevedo writes with abandon, embracing inspired verse rather than the sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-upon-paragraph slog with which most readers of fiction are familiar. In doing so, she opens the door to a new world of possibility: one that elevates form and feel, one that relies on meticulously curated, singular details to stand in for that which can, as a result, remain unwritten.

Both poignant and impossible to put down, Acevedo’s Clap When You Land breathes life into grief and explores the power of found family in ways no other book can.

5/5 stars.

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