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Aya Hardcover – February 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Aya
  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; 1st Hardcover Ed edition (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894937902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894937900
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

Oubrerie's art compliments the text perfectly.
S. Young
I found the story to be very entertaining and had a nice pentameter to it.
T. Denyer
This was the second Aya book I read, and I love them both.
Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ms W on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I discovered the Aya series while in Paris. I don't speak French, but bought all three books because the illustrations are BEAUTIFUL. Clement Oubrerie's illustrations depict Africans in such a beautiful manner. I can make out the story via the illustrations and love it. I can't wait to purchase the English editions!!!!! Whether you purchase this book in French or English, you won't be disappointed. Lovely, just lovely.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel J. Moody on December 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Aya wonderfully captures the true look, feel, and...ENERGY!!! of an African city, in both its lighthearted storytelling and spot-on illustrations! The street scenes, the disco bars, and characters in their 70's duds is just sooooo perfect! Having lived on the Continent for 2 plus years, I go to this book when I want to be swept back there. If you have a love of Africa, or a love of simple storytelling, buy this book!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on January 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was excited to see a serious graphic novel about Africa. But after reading it, I'm not sure why. I read the jacket info which is very clear; it says this story takes place in 1970's Ivory Coast, when the country was stable thanks to foreign investment. But it also states that the foreign investment would later disappear. Is this going to be a book about Africa before the "troubles"?
In a lot of ways, AYA is like a long stare at post-independence Ivory Coast. There's nothing terribly special about the story; you have some young women, going through the usual ups&downs of work, school, boyfriends, etc. You almost forget that this is the 1970's and their world would later be destroyed by civil war.
Perhaps AYA is really about nostalgia. It reminded me a little of the book "A TIME BEFORE CRACK" which documents early-1980's Harlem; a time when Harlem wasn't a good place to live, but wasn't yet ruined by crack.
AYA is like A TIME BEFORE CRACK. It's a serious story, not terribly unique or dynamic, but you know that whatever happiness the girls know will soon be over.
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Format: Hardcover
Reading "Aya" was truly a unique experience for me. Having enjoyed the graphic novels of Art Spiegelman [Maus] and Marjane Satrapi [Persepolis], I was excited about "Aya", being the debut graphic novel by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie. This book won the pair the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angouleme International Comics Festival[originally published in French], and after reading it I can understand the accolades.

Set in 1978 in a working class neighborhood called Yop City in the Ivory Coast, the story revolves around a 19-year-old young woman named Aya,who differs from her friends in that her mind is not 100% occupied with boys and partying but ambition [she wants to be a doctor]. Her character in itself seems counter to the stereotypes that we are presented in many other stories about the countries in Africa - the poverty, the sense of a doomed future, AIDS etc. Not that these problems aren't real, but Aya is such a refreshing character for her optimism and belief that her ambition is achievable, even in the face of parental objection and peer pressure to just be a girl and have fun, and despite the fact that she lives in the Ivory Coast, a poor nation that is notorious for child labour and 'blood diamonds'.

The story is one that we can all identify with - about growing up and being happy with friends and family, of life in a neighborhood, of having dreams both small and big, and perhaps this is what both Abouet and Oubrerie wish to get across - that despite economic disparities and cultural differences, different issues and concerns, "we" [being the world at large] do share similarities, perhaps more than most of us are aware of.

Abouet's intelligent, and humorous writing is beautifully complemented by Oubrerie's use of vibrant colors and expressive drawings [especially the character's faces]. This is a wonderful collaboration and a promising one indeed. I can't wait for the sequel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carol Benovic on May 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It seems like everyone these days is hopping on to the Graphic Novel bandwagon! But with Aya, Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie present a rare side of Africa that one rarely sees. Written from the point-of-view of some tweeny-aged characters, 'Aya' is witty, comical and easy for any reader to relate to. If Abouet's goal was to equalize all youth in the realms of love, hope and sex, then she has certainly done it.
The illustrations and color choices are also amazing. Each character is memorable and distinct.
There are even illustrated recipes in th back!
This is a must-buy!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Denyer on May 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A friend turned me onto this book, and I have to say that at first glance I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. BUT, by the third page I was hooked. Really hooked and read it through in one sitting.

I love the fact that it is peppered with local slang and language from the village. Nothing that would require footnotes, but it does have a glossary in the back for about a dozen words used in the book.

It also has a recipe for Chicken Kedjenou, a dish mentioned in the book. It also has a very cool step-by-step illustration for how to tie the pagne around your baby in order to carry it on your back.

At the very end, there is an interview with Marguerite Abouet by Angela Ajayi called "Drawing on the Universal Africa".

I think this book would be a great young adult and adult graphic novel/comic. It wasn't too preachy, nor was it written outside the grasp of a young adult. I found the story to be very entertaining and had a nice pentameter to it. Great character development, too.

I highly recommend this book.
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