For the residents of Yopougon, everyday life is good. It is the early 1970s, a golden time - work is plentiful, hospitals are clean and well equipped, and school is obligatory. The Ivory Coast is as an island of relative wealth and stability in West Africa. For the teenagers of the town, though, worries are plentiful, and life in Yop City is far from simple. Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the clear-sighted and bookish Aya, and her carefree and fun-loving friends Adjoua and Bintou. Navigating meddling relatives and neighbours, the girls spend a last summer of their childhood on the sun-warmed streets of Yop City - sneaking out for dancing at open-air bars, strong solibra beer, chicken in peanut sauce and avoiding at all costs the scandal pages of the Calamity Morning.... Aya is a captivating, colourful and hugely entertaining portrayal of an Africa we rarely see, spirited and resilient, and full of the sounds, sights and smells of a prosperous town and its varied inhabitants.
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Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan in 1971 and now lives outside Paris. Clement Oubrerie was born in Paris in 1966 and has illustrated more than forty children's books.From School Library Journal:
Grade 10 Up—Picking up where Aya (Drawn & Quarterly, 2007) left off, Yop City continues the adventures of Aya, her family, and friends in prewar Ivory Coast. Adjoua is trying to convince the Sissokos that their son is her baby's father, but the truth comes out in a comedic episode. Moussa Sissoko isn't off the hook though, as his father decides it's time for him to learn the family business. Meanwhile, Adjoua's friends are spending as much time caring for the baby as she is, although Bintou thinks she has met the man of her dreams. As usual, all the action revolves around the periphery of Aya's life, but this time the drama hits closer to home at the book's end. Readers who haven't read the first volume will have a tough time following the action, as it picks up threads introduced there with little explanation. As in Aya, back matter includes more Ivorian detail such as recipes, childbirth customs, and a glossary. Oubrerie's illustrations are even more colorful than in the original and match well with the light, humorous tone of the text. An interview with the author is included. This continues to be a pleasant addition to both world literature and graphic-novel collections in its depiction of Africa as a more modern urbane place than much of the literature we see about the continent.—Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD
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