“when you touch down on this soil, you must clap when you land.”
Elizabeth Acevedo gives a poetic journey in Clap When You Land.
Speed it up
Slow it down
There is as lyrical motion to the story of Camino and Yahaira. They're sisters who know nothing about the others' existence. Until they lose the one thing that’s most important to them.
Early in the story, we find that Camino and Yahaira lose their father in a plane crash. This loss impacted not only their lives but the community both girls are a part of. Camino resides in the Dominican Republic. Yahaira lives in New York City.
Camino is strong and smart and determined. She wants nothing more than to move to NY to attend college and become a doctor.
Yahaira is strong, smart and strategic. She learned things about her father that hurt her and she deals with the guilt of her anger after he’s gone.
Both girls need to find a way to survive with the major loss of their dad. But many things need to be uncovered to move forward.
This story is a representation of many families. It’s about losing someone in your life. It’s about struggling with secrets. Camino wants nothing more than to get to the U.S. and become someone outside of her community. Yahaira wants to heal from the secrets left behind when her father died.
There are a lot of takeaways to talk about from this book including: immigration, identity, religion, sexuality, familial trauma, and anxiety. However, the one thing that sticks out is Camino’s fear of El Cero. Acevedo writes about human trafficking in this story. How young girls are taken by this man. She watches him everyday. She is aware of his lingering presence. It was to the point where I (as a reader) feared him! Moreover, this book contains elements of stalking, assault and violence against women.
It’s important for us to see these elements in stories. How girls are easily taken advantage of. How they are watched and they are preyed upon. How there is constant pressure placed on young girls and girls of color to be in a position where they have to protect themselves. Especially, when their protector isn’t there to help them any longer.
Honestly, some stories were hard for me to review because of the emotional weight each story carries. How can I put into words how I really feel? I don’t think I can fully explain my admiration for this book and for Elizabeth Acevedo. All I can say is that I am grateful for her words.
As a newbie to reviewing books let me know how you critically analyze books? What’s a starting point?