Clap When you Land by: Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary:

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.

In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives

The Review: 

I became a huge fan of Elizabeth Acevedo’s work ever since I read The Poet X, one of eh first novels I read that was in verse. Clap When You Land, is another novel also set in verse, this time telling the story of two POVs, Yahaira and Camino

It was great to ready about the two POVs, and she does a good job at giving them their own distinct voice to them. Both of them seeing the different sides of their father’s death. With the death of their father revealed that family secret that they are sisters.

With Camino, she is from the Dominican Republic, who lives with her aunt and dreams about moving to New York and going to Columbia University and becoming a doctor. Her aunt is the neighborhood medical healer, and one of my favorite highlights of the book was seeing her aunt use the herbal mixes and helping out her neighbors.

With Yahaira, she is from New York, who is a smart girl who plays chess mainly with her father.

When both receive the news of their father’s death, they both deal with a lot of emotions. Also they deal with the emotions of finding out about each other, and seeing the man they look up to as someone who had kept a secret.

Acevedo, does a good job at giving them their own distinct voices and seeing them navigate the grief of their father and the discovery of their sister. The verses feel so lyrical and every line of the book mattered.

In the end, Clap When You Land is an amazing book, that does a good job at tackling grief and secrets. Both characters are amazing, and it makes you want to root for them.

Grade: 5/5

The Poet X by: Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary:

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. 

The Review:

This is a book I have heard nothing but good things about, and this is also the second book that I read that was in verse. Earlier this year I read The Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds that I also really loved.

The fact, that the book was written in verse, made the book a lot stronger and easy to read through, it only took me about a day to read it. It also had a sort of meta feel to it mainly because the main plot of the book is about Xiomara dealing a lot with her poetry.

Xiomara, is a girl living in Harlem, also dealing with her immigrant family, and her mother wants her to be the good Catholic girl, which mainly means no boys or dating. She is also often compared to twin brother, Xavier who is basically the genius of the family.

The book style really makes the story stronger, with every verse it was extremely powerful, and you really get a sense of Xiomara’s pain and struggle. The emotion Xiomara felt was real and raw.

The book also deals with Xiomara’s struggle to find her own voice. She mostly writes all of her emotions down in her notebook , and it wasn’t until her teacher encouraged her to join a slam poetry club at her school, and as the book goes on so does her poetry.

I also liked that the book didn’t hold back in regards to her relationship with her mother, and it really felt just as raw, as her poetry, with her mother clearly not understanding why it is important to her. While you don’t actually see her actual poems, the verses within the book just make it more exciting.

In the end, The Poet X was a fantastic read from start to finish. The fact that it was written in verse, you get a good sense of Xiomara’s emotions. While this was my second book that I read in verse, I loved every word on every page.

Grade: 5/5