Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Audiobook Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted August 19, 2022 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: Hot Key Books on May 5, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIAP+, Poetry
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: BIPOC Authors, Black Authors, Dominican Character(s), Dominican-American Authors, Latino/a/x/e Authors
Content Warnings: Death, Death of Parent, Grief, Pregnancy, Stalking

Rating: ★★★★

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Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people...

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is 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.

Separated by distance - and Papi's secrets - the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi's death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

Elizabeth Acevedo does it again, but I’m not surprised. Clap When You Land has all the heart of her other books, but it has something else too. While The Poet X and With the Fire on High revolve around imaginary people in familiar situations, there’s a historical event that drove Clap When You Land. It is heartbreaking and I’m glad Acevedo has brought attention to it. Altogether this is a wonderful, touching story about grief, discovery, fear, desperation, vulnerability, and acceptance.

Clap When You Land follows two young women – Camino and Yahaira – unknowing sisters separated by their father’s secrets and an entire country. Both love their father, and so, when the flight that takes him annually from New York to DR crashes without survivors, they are devastated. With nobody left to protect them, their father’s secrets begin to bubble to the surface and the girls are left to grapple with their grief and the discovery of one another.

This novel is all heart, deep and guttural at times, but filled with memory and desire and fear and love. It’s impossible to read it and not feel yourself a bit heartbroken. Camino’s perspective in particular was hard and heavy, having lost many more promises as well as her father. I appreciated watching the girls tiptoe around one another as they lowly peeled back the layers to learn about one another.

There are moments, too, where little details take over. These come when Yahaira talks about her early chess tournaments or when Dre shares her fire escape garden, or when Camino looks at the altar in their family home. Acevedo always brings her worlds to life in small, meaningful ways. Along with the depth of her characters, these little moments stay with me.

Clap When You Land was … I wouldn’t say “inspired by”, but maybe… “influenced by” American Airlines Flight 587. In November 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor in Queens, killing everyone on board and five people on the ground. It was the second deadliest airplane crash in history. It was also one I’d never heard of, and that makes it worse. The crash, two months after September 11th, was deemed not to have been a terrorist attack and once that determination was made, the media lost focus. But Elizabeth Acevedo didn’t. This story was built on the memories and stories and grief of those in the community whose loved ones were lost. Acevedo honors those memories.

Even if you decide not to read this book – and you should read it, it’s excellent – please consider looking into American Airlines Flight 587 from New York to Santa Domingo on November 12th, 2001. One of Acevedo’s goals with Clap When You Land was to honor the dead by remembering them, and you can help her do that by learning their story. While Clap When You Land is fictional, the outlying story remains important.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Personal Enjoyment

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
send me your thoughts

Have you read this book or anything by this author?

If so, did you enjoy it? If not, what would you do differently?

Share with me in the comments!

stay magical amber

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Other Books by Elizabeth Acevedo

3 books found
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo


With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo




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2 responses to “Audiobook Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

  1. I’ve read all of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books since her debut The Poet X, and each one gets better and better!! Clap When You Land made me feel so many emotions, especially the family drama between Camino, Yahaira and their father. I share similarities between them with my own family. Great review!!

    Danielle recently posted: ‘Reality Check’ is Available Now!
    • Amber

      Thank you Danielle! <3 I think I'm up-to-date with Elizabeth Acevedo now, and looking forward to whatever she writes next. I'm so happy to hear that you were able to connect deeply with Clap When You Land. The importance of a variety of stories being told!!!!