“[Aya] wittily delves into both the political and the pop during an enchanted era when anything seemed possible.” —Vibe Vixen
The original Drawn & Quarterly volume of Aya debuted last year to much critical acclaim, receiving a Quill Award nomination and praise for its accessibility and for the rare portrait of a warm, vibrant Africa it presents. This continuation of the dynamic story by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie returns to Africa’s Ivory Coast in the late 1970s, where life in Yop City is as dramatic as ever. Oubrerie’s artwork synchronizes perfectly with Abouet’s funny and lighthearted writing, which together create a spirited atmosphere and scenarios that, however unique to the bygone setting, remain entirely contemporary in their effect.
The original cast of characters is back in full force, with a case of questionable paternity fanning the flames of activity in the community. The new mother Adjoua has her friends to help with the baby, perhaps employing Aya a bit too frequently, while a new romance leaves Bintou with little time for her friends, let alone their responsibilities. The young women aren’t the only residents of Yopougon involved in the excitement, however; Aya’s father is caught in the midst of his own trysts and his employer’s declining Solibra beer sales, and Adjoua’s brother finds his share of the city’s nightlife.
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The writer Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan in 1971 and now lives outside Paris. The artist Clément 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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