86 pages 2 hours read

Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land

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

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Character Analysis


At 16 going on 17 years old, Camino Rios is Papi’s older daughter by two months and lives in Sosúa, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. She has long curly hair and the long limbs of a natural swimmer—the pastime that brings Camino the most peace. Like her father, Camino is deeply spiritual, serving as apprentice to Tía Solana, a healer for those in Sosúa who seek natural remedies, prayer, and healing ceremonies, especially when they have no money for hospitals. Camino has a natural ability for healthcare and an impulse to protect those closest to her. While Yahaira’s character arc follows a more traditional quest for answers, Camino’s primary drive is to chase her dreams: “There is nothing / for me in this town where I see my exit doors growing smaller” (290). Although her highest ambition is to study medicine at Columbia University in New York, when Papi is killed, Camino becomes intensely aware of her disadvantages and the dangers of nursing dreams that may end in disappointment.

Camino’s story is set in a coastal resort town, and her poems deal with deep societal issues: imperialism, hegemony, colorism, and poverty faced by her neighbors. Camino exists in real peril, as do the characters that populate her section of the book.