a pair of beautifully packaged graphic novels depicting urban middle class life in the ivory coast in the 1970s. the story (started in "aya" and continued in "aya of yop city") focuses on a female high school student named aya, her two girlfriends adjoua and bintou, and their families. i really enjoyed these two books. clement oubrerie's illustrations offer wonderful depictions of abouet's simple story about young women growing up in africa. sort of how "persepolis" offered us a glimpse into the life of a young woman growing up in revolutionary iran, "aya" gives us a glimpse of growing up in africa. one of the nice things about this story is that abouet presents the africa of her childhood, and although in abouet's africa things are not perfect, this is also not the negatively sensationalized africa of the evening news plagued by war, famine and aids. if you are a fan of more mature graphic novels like "persepolis" or guy delisle's travelogues, i highly recommend taking the time to read "aya" and "aya of yop city".