This graphic novel takes place in the late 70s in the Ivory Coast. Aya is a teenage girl with academic ambition, while her two best friends, Adjoua and Bintou, are far more concerned with partying. This, of course, eventually leads to trouble.
I believe this is the first book I’ve ever read about the Ivory Coast. It was an interesting experience. Stylistically, the artwork in this graphic novel didn’t appeal to me as much as some others I’ve read, but at the same time, I liked the detail of background scenes. I was much more interested in gleaning cultural references and the experience of living than I was in the main story. My favorite parts of the graphic novel were the pages in the back, which had vocabulary, clothing information, dance tips, and recipes. I’m especially fond of the peanut sauce (stew) recipe, which is almost like the mafé recipe from Senegal that Jason and I have been making for years. I can’t wait to try this version!
I did like Aya (the character), though. I liked how smart and cynical she was. I can’t say the same for her friends or pretty much anyone else in the book. I didn’t really like any of the other characters, which probably explains why I didn’t really care much about the main story. Aya’s not in the story as much more than an observer.