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Aya
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A prizewinning story of life in Yop City in the Ivory Coast

About the Author

Marguerite Abouet (Author) Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan in 1971. At the age of 12, she was sent with her older brother to study in France under the care of a great uncle. She now lives in a suburb of Paris where she works as a legal assistant. Clement Oubrerie (Illustrator) Clement Oubrerie was born in Paris in 1966 and has illustrated more than forty children's books.

Reviews

Abouet could have just wanted to tell a sweet, simple story of the Ivory Coast of her childhood as a counterpoint to the grim tide of catastrophic news, which is all most Westerners know of Africa. But in Aya, Abouet, along with Parisian artist Oubrerie, does quite a bit more than that, spinning a multifaceted romantic comedy that would satisfy even without any political agenda behind it. Set in 1970, Aya follows the travails of some teenage girls in the peaceful Abidjan working-class neighborhood of Yopougon (which they call "Yop City, like something out of an American movie"), as they strive for love and the right boyfriend. Yop City, as detailed in Oubrerie's fluid and cartoonish black and white drawings, is a mellow place where disco rules the night and practically the worst thing these girls have to worry about is the disapproval of their parents-or in the case of the quiet title character, criticism from those who wish she were more boy-crazed and less focused on a career. It's a quick piece of work, but memorable in mood, capturing the country's brief flicker of postcolonial peaceful prosperity before descending into the modern maelstrom of corruption and violence we know only too well. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Gr 10 Up-Studious Aya and her flighty party-girl friends, Adjoua and Bintou, live in suburban Ivory Coast in 1978. Aya hopes to continue her studies and become a doctor, while her father, a manager at a local brewery, would rather see her marry well. Unfortunately, the mate he has in mind for her, the son of his boss, is an even bigger partier than Bintou and Adjoua-as all will soon find out. Aya is actually more observer than participant-most of the action revolves around the peripheral characters-although she is often an instigator. This realistic story immerses readers in the life of an Ivorian teen of the period. Yet for those familiar with the civil unrest occurring in this part of Africa during the ensuing years, the simplicity of life depicted can't help but be extra poignant; the subplot of one teen's unplanned pregnancy has universal elements. Oubrerie's images are comic and light, somewhat reminiscent of Joann Sfar's, who edited this collection when it was first published in France. There is also some fun back matter, including a glossary, how to wrap a pagne (skirt cloth), and a few recipes. This pleasing volume will make a good addition to graphic-novel collections.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

The writer Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan in 1971 and now lives outside of Paris. The artist Clement Oubrerie was born in Paris in 1966 and has illustrated more than forty children's books.

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