Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Poetry
Length: 432 pages
Purchased through Bookshop.org
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Synopsis

In this novel in verse, 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. 

My Thoughts

Clap When You Land is a beautiful story, told in verse, about loss, the grieving process, and the secrets that are revealed in the aftermath.

Acevedo is unflinching as she gives voice to daughters grieving their father’s life, filled with complications of a double existence. They express their anger and wants in poetic verse, emphasizing the purity of emotion in both speakers voices the days after the plane crash.

This story alternates between Camino and Yahaira’s perspective, both trying to absorb the truth behind their father’s deceit as the layers of truth are revealed through relatives’ unspoken words and double meanings. Upon learning about each other, each girl holds preconceived notions about the other, further deepening the anger held about their father’s secret lives.

The tone in this poetic story is raw, voicing each girl’s hardships upon reflecting on a life without their hero. At the same time, both Yahaira and Camino are envious of each other for different reasons: Yahaira detests Camino’s island ties with her father; in her eyes, Camino has her father during the time she needs him the most. Meanwhile, Camino feels envious of Yahaira’s privilege of living in the United States; in her eyes, Yahaira is blessed with educational opportunities that Camino can only dream of.

Clap When You Land has diverse representation through the Latinx perspective in both the United States and the Dominican Republic. Being Latinx myself, I can identify with the familial customs Yahaira and Camino’s families display. I can also understand the friendly competition among Spanish fluency between the characters, as I have friendly interactions among my family members over this very same concept!

This novel also has LGBT representation, as Yahaira has a same-sex relationship Andrea (Dre), her high school classmate. I enjoyed reading about Yahaira and Dre’s loving bond! Although Yahaira is more reserved about her relationship status than her partner, Yahaira’s mother is aware and accepting of her daughter’s relationship. I enjoyed this show of acceptance between mother and daughter!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Clap When You Land! I recommend this book for those who love reading stories about sisters rediscovering each other by chance. If you also enjoy reading books with Latinx representation, then you will love this story!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber/Mini Book Review

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 4, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber through NetGalley and Wednesday Books, in exchange for an honest review**

When I first read the synopsis for ‘Lobizona’, I was immediately intrigued. A story that blends in urban fantasy and folklore, while bringing the issues of immigration/family separation in America to the forefront! Romina Garber brings attention to these conflicts beautifully, painting Manuela (Manu) as a girl who longs to be part of society, yet her undocumented status forces her into hiding.

I loved how Manu explores both worlds (her family life in Miami, and her school life within El Labriento (The Labyrinth) with the urgency to belong, yet her status in both of these realms make this desire risky. Manu learns many lessons about her lineage along the journey, one that bends the line of gender and social norms!

‘Lobizona’ is a novel that highlights a girl becoming aware of her strengths while seeking her true lineage, while encountering obstacles and valuable connections. It’s a book that addresses the crisis of family separation through a young woman quest to discover her truth. I can’t wait for this book to come out in August!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

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Friday Reads: April 10

I’m about halfway through Lobizona by Romina Garber. I’m just swept away by the reality of the Miami, Florida setting and the Argentinian folklore woven into the story. I’m sure it’s going to be quite a ride once things pick up!

I did discover one thing that I’m not too thrilled about…nothing story related, but the face that the publication date is pushed back to August. I should have expected it, considering the pandemic we’re all experiencing has caused delays and postponements all around. I was surprised about the news, but I can wait. It will just build up the excitement!

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