CLAP WHEN YOU LAND by Elizabeth Acevedo | Summary, Themes & Synopsis

Rate this Book
TitleClap When You Land
AuthorElizabeth Acevedo
GenreYoung Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Poetry
Publication DateMay 5, 2020
Number of Pages432
SettingNew York City and Santo Domingo
Point of ViewFirst Person (alternating)
ProtagonistsCamino Rios and Yahaira Rios
ThemesGrief, Forgiveness, Family, Identity, Socioeconomic Disparities

Clap When You Land- Main Characters

  • Camino Rios: A high school student who lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt, Tia Solana. She dreams of going to college in the United States and becoming a doctor.
  • Yahaira Rios: A high school student who lives in New York City with her mother, Mami. She is a skilled chess player and is struggling with her feelings for her best friend, Dre.
  • Papi: The father of Camino and Yahaira, who has been keeping a secret from both of them.
  • Tia Solana: Camino’s aunt and caregiver, who runs a beauty salon in the Dominican Republic.
  • Mami: Yahaira’s mother, who works as a hotel maid in New York City and is struggling to support her family.
  • El Cero: Camino’s friend and neighbor, who helps her navigate life in the Dominican Republic.


Camino Rios resides with her aunt Ta Solana, a skilled healer, in Sosa, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Yahaira Rios, her half-sister, is a brilliant chess player who resides in Queens, New York, with her mom, Mami. When flight 1112 of their father’s aircraft, which is flying between them, abruptly crashes into the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone on board, Papi and the other passengers die as well. Following Papi’s passing, Camino & Yahaira will learn about their father’s many secrets as well as about one another.

Camino is being followed by a hustler by the name of El Cero as Yahaira is shaken by the news and desperately searches for survivors. Although Papi was paying him to stay away, El Cero has started following Camino to the beach where she swims despite the fact that he is known to deal in underage prostitutes. El Cero may be a present threat, but Camino’s desires to leave Puerto Plata and pursue a career in medicine in New York are threatened by her family’s rising financial problems because of the passing of her father. As the weeks go by and El Cero’s advances become more aggressive, Ta Solana gets a call from Camino’s uncle, To Jorge, regarding her father’s other wife.

After hearing that her father’s remains have been found, an airline insurance representative arrives to talk about an agreement in advance: a sum of money that will be given to Yahaira and Mami in order to avoid a lawsuit. Tio Jorge strongly advises Mami to take the airline to court, but Mami accepts the money. In his last testament, Papi specified that he wanted to be buried in the Dominican Republic. Mami agrees to this arrangement, but she forbids Yahaira from travelling to another country to attend her father’s funeral.

The airline cash, which Camino can legally claim to be her rightful estate as Papi’s daughter, is explained to Camino by T’a Solana in the Dominican Republic. Ta Solana warns that Papi had a further child by a spouse who had connections at the consular’s office, which she could use to disprove her claim. In the flurry of feelings that these revelations trigger, Camino latches onto the thought that she has a sister. She soon contacts Yahaira via social media.

Yahaira discovered Papi’s marriage certification to Camino’s mother during the summer before he passed away. Without taking into account the possibility that her father might also have a second daughter, Yahaira cut off her relationship with Papi after discovering his dishonesty. Yahaira is shocked to see Papi and a young girl with her father’s features in Camino’s profile picture when she accepts Camino’s friend request. Yahaira is shocked to learn that she has a sister, and Mami is compelled to tell Yahaira the secret she had been trying to keep hidden. She reveals to Yahaira that she had a close friendship with her father’s other wife when they were children, and that even after she passed away, Papi refused to give up on Camino. Camino receives a message from Yahaira suggesting a video chat.

As soon as Camino and Yahaira connect virtually, they start working together to achieve their goals. Camino offers Yahaira a way to travel to the Dominican Republic to join Papi’s funeral. However, as El Cero makes more aggressive demands, Camino informs Yahaira that she won’t be including her in the ceremony unless she sends $10,000 of the airline advance to her. Yahaira transfers the funds to Camino and purchases a plane ticket to the Dominican Republic using Mami’s credit card.

Camino and Yahaira take a while to relax their guard when Yahaira gets to Sosa. As they get to know one another, they discover an innate sisterly connection and learn that they have similar grieving, aspirations, and fears. Soon after figuring out Yahaira’s absence, Mami shows up just in time to join the sisters at Papi’s funeral, which is attended by everybody in the neighbourhood & is loud and raucous.

Despite her growing feelings for Yahaira, Camino steals her sister’s passport with the intention of entering the country illegally while posing as Yahaira. When El Cero discovers that Camino is carrying thousands of dollars in cash in her bag while she is returning to the beachfront, he corners her and attacks her. Yahaira, Mami & Ta Solana arrive in time to combat El Cero.

In the following days, Mami makes use of her contacts to quicken Camino’s emergency entry into the country by obtaining a visa. She explains that El Cero will return to get her and that, despite her fear of letting Camino into her heart, she would like to take over as her guardian & stepmother. During her last few days in Sosa, Camino uses them to say goodbye to the community and friends who have stood by her throughout her life. Camino waits for takeoff while sitting next to her sister on her flight to New York in the book’s final scene. Yahaira holds her hand and alerts her that some of the passengers will clap when they touch down.

Clap When You Land Writing style

“CLAP WHEN YOU LAND” is written in an unique way by Acevedo. The novel is written in free verse poetry, which intensifies the narrative’s emotional effect. Readers may view the narrative from both Camino and Yahaira’s points of view thanks to the dual narration, which helps them comprehend the characters and their adventures more thoroughly. Readers may easily relate to the characters and their challenges since they are well-developed and realistic.

About the Author- Elizabeth Acevedo

Full nameElizabeth Acevedo
BornJune 3, 1988
BirthplaceNew York City, New York, USA
OccupationPoet, novelist, and performer
Notable works“The Poet X”, “With the Fire on High”
AwardsNational Book Award, Printz Award

Clap When You Land FAQs

What is “Clap When You Land” about?

Two sisters are shown in the story of Clap When You Land as they come to know one another after their father dies in an airplane accident.

Is “Clap When You Land” based on a true story?

Clap When You Land is a work of fiction, but it was inspired by the real-life crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in 2001.

What is the format of “Clap When You Land”?

Clap When You Land is written in verse, which means that the story is told through poetry instead of prose.

Leave a Comment

a to z