86 pages 2 hours read

Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | YA | Published in 2020

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Coming of Age

Clap When You Land is, above all, a coming-of-age story. At the start of the novel, both women are dissatisfied with their circumstances. For Camino, the looming threat of deep poverty that has consumed many of her neighbors threatens her own way of life when tuition bills begin to accumulate. Without her father’s financial assistance, her hopes for a future studying in America dwindle. For Yahaira, who was raised in a Dominican household, her connection to her parents’ homeland feels elusive, like a missing piece of her own identity: “[c]an you be from a place / you have never been” (97). Even as Camino and Yahaira are dealing with the extraordinary circumstance of losing Papi, the loss of their father is a catalyst for both sisters to grow past the boundary lines of adolescence and expand the way they see the world.

Although Clap When You Land follows a traditional format for a bildungsroman, in which a hero (usually a young person) undergoes various trials on their trajectory to gaining experience, for Yahaira and Camino, the path to maturity and self-expression varies. Yahaira’s journey is distinctly a search for answers and an investigation into the secrets that have kept her image of her parents in stasis.