06 February 2017

Aya Graphic Novel Series Review

Hey you guys! I'm back with another review! This is a graphic novel series review. There are six volumes; however, the last three were only published in English as a bind up. Click on the cover of each volume to find out more! Enjoy the review!

Ivory Coast, 1978. Family and friends gather at Aya's house every evening to watch the country's first television ad campaign promoting the fortifying effects of Solibra, "the strong man's beer." It's a golden time, and the nation, too--an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa--seems fueled by something wondrous.

Who's to know that the Ivorian miracle is nearing its end? In the sun-warmed streets of working-class Yopougon, aka Yop City, holidays are around the corner, the open-air bars and discos are starting to fill up, and trouble of a different kind is about to raise eyebrows. At night, an empty table in the market square under the stars is all the privacy young lovers can hope for, and what happens there is soon everybody's business.

Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the studious and clear-sighted Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It's a breezy and wryly funny account of the desire for joy and freedom, and of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City. An unpretentious and gently humorous story of an Africa we rarely see-spirited, hopeful, and resilient--Aya won the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Clément Oubrerie's warm colors and energetic, playful lines connect expressively with Marguerite Abouet's vibrant writing.

I'm just going to go ahead and say that if you haven't picked up this graphic novel series then I would definitely recommend reading it. I saw one of the volumes on the shelf at the library and it just pulled in my interest. What I enjoy most about this series it that it takes a normalized look at Africa. Typically in the media, Africa is showcased as an impoverished, war-torn continent in need of constant aid from other areas of the world. However, this graphic novel takes a look at the day to day life of those who are living on the Ivory Coast in the town of Yop. By doing this, the writer and illustrator make the reader look at Africa like they would any other area of the world.

Aya is a complex graphic novel series that focuses on the day to day life of Aya and her friends. Readers receive the opportunity to see the characters of the series work, build and destroy friendships, have love lives, and even start families. All of this takes places during the 1970s in which the Ivory Coast was a thriving country. The characters of this series are crazy, charismatic, comedic, and most of all fun to read about. They grow and develop into these amazing characters by the end of the series. They also have a great deal of drama so I would be prepared. Although Aya is the main character of the series, I love that the other characters get their own story-lines and the plot isn't solely focused on the development of Aya. In addition to this, the plot of each graphic novel is amazing. The drama is crazy, but not so much that it's overbearing. They contain plot twists and cliff hangers to the point that I would definitely recommend having each volume on hand so you can move on to the one.

In reference to the artwork, this series does have a style of it's own. It's vibrant and bold with lots of variation. I enjoyed the simplicity of the drawings and the way the book was formatted. It definitely has a different flare and style than a lot of graphic materials I've read. At the end of each volume is additional information that no only provides definitions to words used in the series, but also other culture tid-bits  that just add to the overall atmosphere of series. If you're looking for a new graphic novel series to check out, I would definitely recommend trying this one out.    

. 5

(This is an average rating based on the ratings of each volume)



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