Thursday, February 19, 2015


Aya by Marguerite Abouet is about teenage girls in the IvoryCoast of West Africa in the 70's. The main character, Aya, is very studious. Her two friends, Adjoua and Bintou, are much less interested in their schooling. They spend most of their time going out drinking and chasing men. When Adjoua gets pregnant, everything plunges into chaos.

Aya is not actually the center of the story. Most of the dramatic things happen to Bintou and Adjoua. Hell, even Aya's father has a more dramatic story involving a big beer compony. Aya acts more like the voice of reason than the center of attention.

My absolute favorite scene in the book is when Aya's father is trying to turn a luncheon with his boss into a promotion interview. It's funny how he completely sucks up to his boss, and his boss loves it. It is one of the funniest scenes in a graphic novel I've read in a long time.

The art in Aya is very French looking. Some might say it looks quite a bit like the Rabbi's Cat. The characters look like they were drawn by Johann Sfar, especially when it comes to their eyes. I really like the way that the markets and plazas are drawn in Aya. You cannot take one look at them and not think Africa.

There are some words used in this book that are native to the region  that the book takes place in. Luckily for us, there is a glossary in the back of the book so that you don't have to look up words on the Internet. And for all you food lovers, there are two recipes behind the glossary, as well as a tutorial of how to tie a pagne (a head scarf or skirt).

I don't think Aya is appropriate for all ages. There are strong mentions of sexual activity. I think it's more tame than Low Moon, but still pretty out there. If you are a parent, I would suggest that you proof read the Aya before you give it to a younger reader. All inappropriateness aside, Aya is a great book. I would give Aya 9 pregnant teens out of ten.


  1. Excellent review - your best yet! I love that you include some of the cool extras offered in Aya, like the glossary, head-scarf instructions, and recipes. Now I want to read the book, if only for the scene between the father and his boss. Congrats on reaching the much vaunted 50 mark, curious to see how your style/approach will evolve come the 100!

  2. Great review! I'm definitely putting this on my Goodreads list. I also like your use of the word "Hell." :)

  3. free download here