GUEST WRITER LAUREN SIEBEN RECOMMENDS CLAP WHEN YOU LAND BY ELIZABETH ACEVEDO
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is a powerful novel written in verse, about two sisters, Yahaira and Camino, who, when the story opens, don’t know the other exists. Soon though, they are thrust together by their father’s death and left to deal with the secrets and devastation he leaves behind. Told in alternating perspectives and set in alternating countries, Yahaira and Camino, struggle to find forgiveness for a father they both loved, and who was living two very separate lives. The story explores grief after the loss of a parent, the recognition of familial bonds, and how our decisions and relationships can inexplicably change the course of people’s lives.
Packed with diverse own-voices representation, Clap When You Land is a great novel-in-verse addition to any high-school classroom library. Both girls have unique and distinct voices, which lends well to the telling of the story in two different geographical locations and strengthens the characterization of the girls. It would serve as a great mentor text for lyrical and verse writing, as Acevedo has mastered the rhythm and pacing for a novel in verse, that makes it both easy to read and impactful in its purpose. The tough subjects the book deals with, like grief and forgiveness, are done realistically and sensitively, and would be great introductions to having conversations about those themes in a classroom setting. Acevedo has created a masterpiece YA novel with Clap When You Land, as well as a must-have for your bookshelf.
Lauren Sieben is a High School ELA teacher at John Caldwell School in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Her favourite activity is reading books. Her second favourite activity is talking about them.