Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: May 5th 2020

TW: death of a parent, sexual assault, mentions of sex trafficking

      “In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
    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.”

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“Neighbors pour into the house
like our grief is a bottomless thirst
& God has tipped this pitcher of people to fill us up.”

Elizabeth Acevedo delivers her most emotionally-charged novel with Clap When You Land, chronicling the grief of two sisters who discover one another’s existence only after the death of their father. Every summer Camino’s father visits her in the Dominican Republic where she lives with her aunt since her mother’s passing a decade earlier. And at the end of every summer when he leaves for the States, she wishes she could go with him. Yahaira’s relationship with her father has been strained since she learned of a secret he’s been keeping. Her resentment has built up in silence as she’s never found the courage to confront him. Just when she thinks she’s found the words, he has to leave for work like he does every summer in the Dominican Republic. As Camino awaits her father’s arrival and Yahaira says goodbye to him for the summer, the unthinkable happens. Their father’s plane crashes, leaving no survivors. What follows is a heartbreaking story of two girls picking up the pieces of their lives in the midst of loss, discovering that neither of them knew their father completely, and figuring out if there is a way to move forward with the wounds their father left behind.

Camino has aspirations that have always felt far reaching but still possible. Having assisted her Tía Solana with her work as a curandera, Camino wants to become a doctor. Her father’s financial support has provided her with an education that not many young people in her county have. When he dies, her whole world feels like it’s flipped upside down. The stability he provided is gone and her future suddenly becomes muddled. Finding out that she has a sister that lives in the States feels like a blow when she’s never been allowed to live with her father and when at the end of every summer, he left her to return to his other daughter who will never know the struggles she has had. The Dominican Republic has been exploited and its goods used to fill the pockets of foreigners, meanwhile its people are barely getting by. To Camino, Yahaira represents the life she should have had, but will probably never get to with her father’s passing.

Yahaira had already began to grapple with the fact that her father wasn’t the person she thought he was. They had been growing apart and she never was able to forgive him for the secret she discovered before his passing. When he dies, she regrets not confronting him but also doesn’t know what to do with the anger she still feels toward him or how to go about forgiving someone who is no longer alive. Her mother comes apart with the news of her husband’s passing and Yahaira does her best to keep them both afloat. Yahaira’s girlfriend Dre is the one person she feels she can be vulnerable around. Their relationship offers some of the sweetest moments in the novel. When Yahaira meets Camino, she cannot help but feel inadequate in comparison. She’s grapples with being a part of the diaspora and not feeling like she is Dominican enough to belong to this country.

Clap When You Land demonstates Acevedo’s gift of storytelling through her latest novel-in-verse. Poetry is the chosen medium used to convey the depth of emotion the two POV characters experience throughout the story. Acevedo writing is succinct but no less powerful and wrought with emotion. Grief is present in every interaction Camino and Yahaira have with other people and with each other. Both characters go through stages of shock, denial, acceptance. Acevedo captures the trauma of losing someone, how this life-altering devastation affects you physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For Camino and Yahaira, the discovery that there is someone out there who understands exactly what they are feeling is marred by the fact that the person they are mourning lied to them their whole lives.

Clap When You Land explores how complicated grief can be, how it can unravel your entire world, but how it can also forge unbreakable bonds. Acevedo’s latest is a somber read but still makes room for light in the darkest of places.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5)

Twelve Days of…Latinx Book Recommendations: Day 12

This “Christmassy” series is brought to you by my love of books by Latinx authors and my need for all of you to read them. Every day for twelve days leading up to Christmas, I will be gifting you all with a recommendation of a book by a Latinx author, along with twelve reasons why you should pick it up. Hoping to have lots of fun with with series which I am not so subtly calling Twelve Days of… Latinx Book Recommendations. Covers are linked to Goodreads. Feel free to sing this first part to yourself aloud.

♬On the twelfth day of Christmas, my favorite Latinx blogger gave to me, a recommendation for…♬

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

      “With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.”

Reasons You Need to Pick This One Up:

1. The audiobook is narrated by Acevedo and it’s just as wonderful as The Poet X’s narration
2. The naked hardback
3. Afro-Latinx MC
4. Prose that feels like poetry
5. Delicious food descriptions
6. Someone naturally gifted learning they still have a lot to learn
7. Teen parenthood
8. Never too late to follow your dreams
9. Strong family relationships
10. Unshakable female friendship
11. MC never lets other people make her feel small for her choices
12. Magical realism

Have you read this one? Are you planning to read it? What is your favorite audiobook by a Latinx author? Thank you so much for sticking around for this series!

Snapshot Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: With the Fire High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Series: N/A
Pages: 392
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 7th 2019

      “From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.
      Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
      Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.”

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“And something special does happen when I’m cooking. It’s like I can imagine a dish in my head and I just know that if I tweak this or mess with that, if I give it my own special brand of sazón, I’ll have made a dish that never existed before.”

  • The writing – It’s no secret that I loved The Poet X. It reintroduced me to poetry and created a thirst for more. Acevedo’s sophomore novel is told in prose and it’s no surprise that her writing is just as poetic. There were times while reading where I had to pause just to appreciate her imagery.
  • Emoni – I really enjoyed Emoni as a character. She has so much love for her daughter and her grandmother. All throughout the story, you can feel her hesitation when it comes to pursuing her dreams. She has responsibilities that have kept her from doing so, but learns that it is herself that has been holding her back for so long. I loved reading about her passion for cooking. It’s an outlet for her emotions and her creativity. Something she is a natural at, but a skill where she still has a lot to learn.
  • Afro-Latinidad – The exploration of what it means to be Afro-Latinx is at the center of who Emoni is. I loved that the MC was so adamant about her identity. Being black and Latinx aren’t mutually exclusive; being black does not subtract from her Latinidad and being Latinx does not subtract from her being black.
  • Teen parenthood – Most books I see about teens with children have to do with teen pregnancy, so it was refreshing to read a book about a teen mother with a toddler.
  • Emphasis on family and friends – Emoni might not have much, but she has an incredible support system, from her best friend Angelica to her abuela. As strong as these relationships are, Emoni doesn’t have the best relationship with her father and feels distant from her mother’s side of the family, but I loved that these relationships end of shifting for the better.
  • Magical realism – Although this one might strictly be called contemporary, Acevedo weaves in elements of magical realism. Emoni’s cooking is said to elicit emotional responses from those who taste it. It’s presented very subtly, but I think that’s one of the reasons I loved it so much.

  • Nothing comes to mind!

  • Elizabeth Acevedo creates another wonderful and very relatable MC in With the Fire on High. Emoni is a character who is both vulnerable and strong and whose successes at the end of the novel feel like your own.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5)

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share which upcoming releases they’re most looking forward to. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply.

Words can’t express how excited I am for With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I’m a huge fan of her debut novel The Poet X and am really looking forward to this novel about a teen mom with aspirations of becoming a chef. Also, the cover for this one is stunning and I can’t wait to hold a copy of it in my hands. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

 width=Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 7, 2019

      “From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.
      Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
      Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.”

Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!