Aya: Life in Yop City (Aya #1-3)
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Aya: Life in Yop City (Aya #1)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Aya is an irresistible comedy, a couple of love stories and a tale for becoming African. It’s essential reading.” —Joann Sfar, cartoonist of The Rabbi’s Cat

Ivory Coast, 1978. It’s a golden time, and the nation, too—an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa—seems fueled by something wondrous. Aya is loosely based upon Marguerite Abouet’s youth in Yop City. It is...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 2005)
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Aya can pretty much be summed up with the two-page interview with the author from the afterword. In it, the interviewer (who acknowledges their bias, after the fact) is insistent that Abouet admit that there's a political undercurrent to her work. It goes pretty much like this:

INTERVIEWER: Okay, so this is a cute book or whatever. But it's also AFRICA! So it's all about poverty and racism and oppression, right?

ABOUET: Well I dunno. I think it's mostly just a story.

I: Okay, but all the men cheat...more
The tales of AYA and her mates are a welcomed one to my shelf of graphic novels and serials. Rarely does one enjoy this subject matter, language style and richness in variety. AYA chronicles the goings on in "Yop City" located in the Ivory Coast and set in the 1970-80s. It tells of the humorous mishaps, heated entangled, and overall progressions and regressions of the city and it's people. What's so refreshing about the AYA chronicles is how accessible and unbothered by "Otherness" the stories a...more
This was nice. I've never read anything before that takes place in the Ivory Coast. (Or just "in Ivory Coast?")

The art is messy but I really really liked it. I wonder why I like this, but not, say, the art in The Dark Knight Returns. Maybe because this was more colorful?
Ariel Caldwell
Graphic novel set in 1980s Ivory Coast: I don't read a lot of graphic novels (gasp) because often, the illustrations don't help me escape the present moment; I can't suspend my disbelief with manga or bang-pow comics. In this case, I really appreciated the pictures and detail to setting - it's historical, for one, and I've never been on the African continent. The soap-opera-esque story felt like typical teen stories: love, disappointment, belonging, anger, ennui, sexism, classism, dysfunctional...more
I love books set in Western Africa. I think it hearkens back to a sub-Saharan African cultures class I took in my undergraduate years. I was completely taken with the cultures we studied, especially the music. My professor had done her doctoral (and continued) research with the Hausa so she tended to focus on West Africa so my exposure is a little limited (Africa is a big continent!), but I found what slice we got to be incredibly beautiful and fascinating. So any opportunity I get to read autho...more
Jason Bootle
Enjoyable read about Aya and her girlfriends and their families. Very much a soap opera and with all the twists and intertwined characters it reminded me somewhat of Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the city'. The bonus glossary, recipes and interview with Marguerite Abouet is also a nice closure to this volume. Want to read the next 3 episodes. Would have liked to given this 3.5 stars.
Thoroughly enjoyable graphic novel, detailing the lives of a handful of Ivorian high school girls and their families back in the period known as the "belle époque" of Côte d'Ivoire. Well-translated, too!
Really enjoyed! It was like reading a Dramedy. I think the other characters stood out more than Aya. Although I love the respect that Aya has for herself. I've already started on Aya: Love in Top City (#4-6).
I enjoyed this graphic novel, set in the 1970s Ivory Coast where the author grew up. It reads like a soap opera with plenty of family and friend drama captured with well-crafted dialogue and amazing illustrations. Rather than the war-torn Africa presented by today's news, Aya: Life in Yop City chronicles three friends - Aya, Bintu, and Adjoua -, their ongoing struggles with relationships, family, work and education. Similar to Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chine...more
Elizabeth Desole
A really nice slice of life in an Ivory Coast city in the 70's. I really appreciated the way she was able to portray this peaceful rising middle class existence while also confronting the sexual politics/mores of that time and place. It was so refreshing to read such something on this area of Africa that was so peaceful. The illustrations really added to the experience. A great use of the graphic novel medium. I have to admit that I found the place of women in the story frustrating (yet hopeful)
Julia Hendon
The first of two books -- Love in Yop City is the second but I read it first. Life in Yop City introduces the three main characters, Aya and her two friends Bintou and Adjoua, and their families. I enjoyed the story lines, most of which revolve around the romantic/sexual/family problems of the girls, their parents and other relatives and I thought the drawings were better in Love than in Life. The artist seemed to have refined his style a bit.
I adore the characters; am awed by the use of color from scene to scene; and could not be more happily surprised to find such a well done, soap-opera-esque graphic novel about life in Cote d'Ivoire in the late 1970s. It's a time and place that I know almost nothing about, and it's both fascinating and entertaining to see that moment through the eyes of such a zany and drama-prone cast of characters.
Carnegie-Stout Public Library
"The hardest part of writing this review is resisting the urge to just page through admiring the beautiful art. The characters are expressive and distinctive, but its the color that really brings everything to life."

Check out Sarah's review on the library's blog: http://carnegiestout.blogspot.com/201...
I love the drawings and portrayal of daily life among the middle-class of west Africa. It feels like you've dropped in to a neighborhood; hearing the gossip, seeing what happens on the street, going out for drinks and dancing at night. But, I didn't think the story was all that compelling, it was too much like a soap opera.
Dec 20, 2013 Akilah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
3.5 stars

Took me a little while to get into, but then I would read huge sections at a time. Slice of life stories, great cast of characters, though there are almost too many at times.

There's a Q&A with the author at the end, which is also interesting.
What a fun graphic novel. It is like a nighttime soap I'd watch on TV but in graphic novel form. Couldn't stop turning the pages because I really wanted to know what was going to happen to all of these crazy characters.

See my full review: http://youtu.be/nUffFH5ngUA
Sarah S
The story is soap opera-y. The art is full of beautiful colors. The extras section is pretty great too.

I say all the above in fancier words in the library blog here: http://carnegiestout.blogspot.com/201...
Not what I expected but in a good way. I loved it! It was funny and informative. I will be ordering Love in Yop City very soon...

Review to come..
Alexis Leon
At turns comic, biting satire, sociologic study, gender discussion, this book makes you nostalgic for an Africa you never knew existed.
Really funny; one of the reviews on the book cover compared the book to a soap opera and it's kind of true but in the best way possible.
My intro to African comic books, amazing!
Rianna Jade
Hilarious! I'm ordering the sequel ASAP.
Graphic novel set in the city of Abidjan in Ivory Coast in the late 70s - early 80s. This was a time when the country was prosperous and supported a growing middle class. Like a soap opera, there are several characters and interweaving plots that makes the book entertaining as well as a window into a different time and place at a time of hope.
Alex Moore
Alex Moore marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2014
Andrea Buchanan
Andrea Buchanan marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2014
Maureen marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2014
Krysti marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2014
Elle Pea
Elle Pea marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2014
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Marguerite Abouet was born in 1971 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in Western Africa. She grew up during a time of great prosperity in the Ivory Coast. At the age of twelve, she and her old brother went to stay with a great-uncle in Paris, where they further pursued their education. Years later, after becoming a novelist for young adults, Abouet was drawn to telling the story of the world she remembered...more
More about Marguerite Abouet...
Aya (Aya #1) Aya of Yop City (Aya #2) The Secrets Come Out (Aya, #3) Aya: Love in Yop City (Aya #4-6) Aya de Yopougon #4 (Aya #4)

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