BOOK REVIEW: CLAP WHEN YOU LAND by Elizabeth Acevedo

*Thank you to Hot Key Books for the e-arc*

I don’t throw the term ‘one of the best books I’ve ever read’ around often, but it’s impossible not to consider this one of the most beautiful, poignant stories I’ve ever read, both in terms of the writing style and the dual stories.

‘Clap When You Land’ follows Yahaira and Camino, two half-siblings who don’t know that the other exists, and who find this out quite drastically following the death of their father. When they each find out that their father had two families and, effectively, two lives, they are heartbroken and confused, and having to deal with that in addition to their loss is a pain that they both face very differently and very beautifully.

I couldn’t choose a favourite character of the two. Both are strong and independent, and I think it makes the book all the more heartbreaking that they both try to be strong throughout it all. It made me more emotional to think about how much they were trying to hold it together than I think it would be to see them both fall apart. Both Yahaira and Camino are two of the most emotionally mature, and yet still believable, teenagers I’ve ever read. The other characters in the story also had an incredible amount of depth to them that I was certainly impressed by, and I found myself becoming invested in the plots of all of the characters, rather than just Yahaira and Camino.

The writing style in this book is something that totally blew me away. I have never read a book in verse before and, when I first started, I was a little sceptical about whether I would be able to read an entirely (relatively long) novel that is written this way. Within pages, though, I was completely hooked. It was so easy to get pulled through the book and I was halfway through before it even felt like I’d started. It’s such an easy book to read, despite the intense and meaningful plot.

The lives that are portrayed in this story are extremely contrasting, but both were equally captivating, and I finished this book in a day because I literally couldn’t put it down. The combination of Yahaira’s determination, Camino’s strength and an incredibly beautiful verse writing style definitely made this my most memorable book of the year so far, and I know for a fact that I will be picking up everything I can by Elizabeth Acevedo.

If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear if you were as completely gripped as I was. Also, if you have any similar recommendations, I would love to hear them! This is a style that I think I might be quickly falling in love with….

RATING: 5/5

BOOK REVIEW: THE PACT by Amy Heydenrych

(Thank you so much to ReadersFirst and Zaffre for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

This book is incredibly well-written. It had me hooked from start to finish and kept me sufficiently surprised with its twists and turns throughout. I absolutely loved the plot, characters and morals of the story and think it may be one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year.

This story follows Freya and Isla, two women facing serious challenges in their careers and personal lives. Freya has just started work at her dream company, and Isla is a criminal journalist reporting on murder cases.

The two find their lives rapidly intertwining when Freya’s colleague, and her workplace bully, Nicole, is found dead in her home. As the women attempt to uncover who is behind the murder, it begins to seem like larger forces are conspiring to keep the murder inquiry quiet, and the matter becomes much more complicated than it initially seemed.

I’m fascinated by how well the various timelines and stories overlap in this book. The story jumps in no particular order between Freya’s past, the days leading up to the murder and both of the women’s lives after. I thought that this might make the story jumpy and random, but it actually came together very impressively and I found myself equally invested in every story that was woven into the plot.

One thing that needs to be noted about this book is that it deals with some very sensitive topics. Murder is the advertised focus of this book, but it delves much deeper into mental illness, gaslighting, rape and sexual harassment in public and in the workplace. These topics are dealt with in an unnervingly believable way, which makes the story all the more compelling. Both Freya and Isla have issues with sexual harassment that leave them in a state of fear and self-doubt. As an topic that is so important to discuss in the present day, this book deals with this very sensitively, with a portrayal that I consider incredibly important.

My only issue with this book is how many villains there appear to be. Although it is not a major problem, and is actually a majorly useful tool in keeping the reader hooked throughout (which Amy Heydenrych definitely did!), I found the book to diverge slightly from believability when so many of the characters became guilty of various crimes and moral discrepancies. This in no way detracted from the novel, but I did find myself beginning to rank the villains in a way that disconnected me from the reality of the story slightly. This is something I have found to be common in murder mysteries but it is not my personal preference. If this is something you’ve found yourself enjoying in other novels, I think this one probably does the concept justice.

I think you should definitely read this book if you’re looking for a gripping thriller or even a difficult-to-take social critique. I finished this book in one day because it was so addictive, and I think anyone, especially female readers, would find this book relatable, compelling and completely terrifying.

This book comes out on 28/11/2019 and I would 100% recommend you check it out! If you’d like to read the description and other reviews or if you’d like to buy the book, here’s the link:

The Pact by Amy Heydenrych

Disclaimer: I will gain a small commission for any purchase made through this link.