‘Clap when you land’ is a story of two half-sisters, separated by countries and united by a secret. Clap when you land follows two stories of young sisters, Camino and Yahaira. Camino and Yahaira have not known about their father’s secret life overseas. The plot after that revolves around them living their individual lives until they discover each other. There are other cues in the story to hold onto as well. There is a link to the lesser-known flight crash that happened in real life, which is linked in the plot as most of the victims were natives of DR. The sisters’ story is narrated in sync. It almost feels like we are watching their lives as a spectator in a split-screen. The only issue is the split-screen doesn’t feel there. Their mannerism and their voice seem the same. If one doesn’t know that they are two different people, one cannot differentiate from the text. I don’t know if this was on purpose by the author. It did feel like it took away from the personalities of the two very different people and listening to the same person in two different places with two different sets of surrounding people. It feels more on purpose than an ignored fact since the other characters around these sisters have a sparse personality, even if they show up for a while.
Elizabeth Acevedo has a pretty way with words. It’s beyond any doubt. The novel is in a verse format rather than the traditional paragraph format, and yet she manages to make it engaging and eloquent. I liked the way she ended the chapters where there was a tragedy waiting on the next page. There’s no way you can’t turn the page and join the pity party. She brings the same magic as her poems and extends it well to different characters as well.
Overall, I like the story and storytelling. There were moments I was rooting hard for the two sisters. It felt real numerous times. I am already a fan of her Slam poems, and I am looking forward to reading her other works.