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Review: Clap When You Land

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

5/5 stars

Sixteen year old Camino Rios has grown up in the Dominican Republic (DR) with her aunt. With a mother who passed away when she was very young, Camino lives for the summers, when her father visits from America.

Yahaira (Yaya) Rios is also 16 years old. She lives in New York City with her mother and father. She loves her life but dreads each summer, when her father travels back to his home country "for work."

Not until a freak accident takes their father away do Camino and Yaya begin to slowly learn of the others' existence - each desperate to understand their father, to understand themselves and each other, and each clinging to the truths they know while sorting through the lies their lives were built around.

Acevedo writes in verse. The text looks like poetry but reads like prose. And it's beautiful. This book is what people mean when they say something is "sheer poetry" - not that it's literal poetry (though it is), but that it's captivating and dazzling to look at. It's raw in it's grief, and tender in it's love, with realistic, complicated characters and plot lines.

This is one of those YA books that makes you remember you're never too old for YA books.


UP NEXT: What Strange Paradise, by Omar El Akkad

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