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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April 2020 Book Haul

Last month I received four books! I’m very happy with my selections!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Teen
Purchased through Bookshop.org

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkeley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchased through Book of the Month

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Genre: Contemporary
Purchased through Bookshop.org

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon
Hope Harbor #6
Publisher: Revell
Genre: Romance
Received a copy through Revell Reads Blogger Program

Did you order any books last month? Feel free to share in the comments!



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Anticipated Reads for April

Although 2020 has brought on many unexpected complications for everyone, I still take comfort in knowing that there are lots of people who turn to books for some escape. I know I’ve turned to reading during these chaotic times!

Here are some books that are being released this month:

April 7:

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods is the sequel to Duncan’s Wicked Saints. This continues Nadya’s journey to collaborate with the gods to conquer evil. I was fortunate to read an eARC of Ruthless Gods via Netgalley, and I loved the sudden turns the story takes!

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushness & Katie Cotugno

Bushnell and Cotugno bring us a story of a young woman fighting to change the unwritten rule that girls are forced to abide by in life.

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

The bestselling author of the Divergent series is back with a new tale about five individuals struggling to redefine themselves from their daredevil indetities as teens.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix

This is a Southern supernatural thriller, set in the 90’s. Goodreads describes this as a blend of Steel Magnolias and Dracula. It so happens that I love both, so I’m excited!

April 28

If It Bleeds, by Stephen King

Stephen King brings us four new scary novellas for our enjoyment. He never runs out of exciting new material!

The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America’s Urban Heartland, by Walter Thompson-Hernandez

This story brings to light the history of black cowboys in this semi-rural area of L.A., providing African-American youth with a outlet to getting connected with the natural world.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela/A Review

Thank you to Wunderkind PR for providing me a complimentary copy of Crier’s War!

Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 429 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Acquired from Wunderkind PR
Release Date: October 1, 2019

Synopsis:
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.
Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.
Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.
Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

My Thoughts:

When I began reading ‘Crier’s War’, I was expecting a standard ‘humans-against-androids’ tale. What I encountered was sooo much more! The world-building drew me in immediately. There is a timeline before the story begins, detailing the start of the Automatons, along with the humans that played a pivotal role in their shaky co-existence/unrest. I really appreciated this, since it sets the scene in how the main characters in the story would behave!

All of the characters in this story were written so beautifully. I actively sensed the conflicted tension Ayla and Crier experiences as their interactions increase. Both girls’ perspective about the world surrounding them changes. Crier increasingly becomes aware of the political turmoil surrounding Automae and Human relationships, and Ayla (upon being confronted with some truths) begins to see the lengths some will go to ease tensions.

Ayla and Crier also become wrapped up in their own attractions, made even more complicated by their own biases towards each other. I enjoyed reading the gradual trust the girls gain towards one another…only to have events change dramatically. Risky secrets and shocking revelations build up to quite a cliffhanger!

Crier’s War is such a good story. It’s a huge page turner, keeping my attention to the very end!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Friday Reads: December 6

Here is what I’m currently reading:

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

I’m currently 52% through Crier’s War. So far this is such a well written story, with politics and race relations being a huge factor within the pacing of this tale. I also love the fact that there are same sex relationships described! It’s a story arc that’s not typically seen in stories. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

October 2019 New Releases

I adore the magic of October! Autumn is in full swing, and it’s the time for everything frightful! There are certainly some books released during this time that fit the bill!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: October 8

Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s highly anticipated release. This will be Bardugo’s first venture into writing Adult Fiction, taking us into the world of Alex Stern, a high school dropout who is given the opportunity to attend Yale, while monitoring the clandestine (and at times dark) activities of the elite.

Full Throttle: Stories by Joe HIll
Publisher: Gollancz Books
Genre: Horror
Release Date: Oct 1, 2019

Full Throttle is a short story compilation that contains 13 tales of human struggle and terror. Two of these stories are co-written with Stephen King. I’m sure that these stories will be charged with enough psychological tension to keep anyone awake at night!

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: P.G. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Release Date: October 8, 2019

Renee Ahdieh’s The Beautiful tells a tale of Celine, a dressmaker fleeing from Paris who becomes captivated with the glamour of New Orleans within the 19th century. As the story unfolds, beauty of this new world also reveals a haven of mystery and supernatural intrigue.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Rin Chupeco writes an intense story about a betrayal that is the cause of twin sisters ruling opposite ends of a world that ceases to rotate. It is up to their daughters to stop sinister forces that threaten their very livlihood, while discovering the secret behind their stories family conflict.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu
Story by Suzanne Walker
Genre: Graphic Novel/YA
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: October 15, 2019

Mooncakes is a graphic novel that tells the story of a Nova, teen witch working at her grandmother’s bookshop, who helps out her childhood friend Tam, a werewolf. Nova and Tam’s story is heartfelt, set in a backdrop of magic and family lineage.