No shortage of thought-provoking social issues to explore!


Like the two books before it, this book focuse on the lives of teens Aya, Bintou, Adjoa, and Moussa, and their families. The story takes place in the 1970s in Yop City, Ivory Coast. While Bintou, Adjoua and Féli (Aya's maid) are preparing for a beauty pagent, bombshells rock each of their families.

Aya's father's mistress arrives at their home, along with her two children. That sends Aya, her mother, and Féli into a frenzy. At the same time, Bintou's father says he is preparing to take on a second wife, who is the same age as Bintou. The entire community is fighting this decision. and this decision is fought against by the entire community. Adjoua's brother has been hiding the fact that he has a secret lover because if the information got out, he would disappoint their father. And last, Moussa who has been living in his father's shadow, wants to join the family business. Unfortunately, nothing he does seems to please his father.

Volunteer Reviewer (20):
Because The Secrets Come Out picks up where Aya of Yop City left off, you need to read that book first. I enjoyed this book as much as the first two. This graphic novel has wonderful illustrations and fun elements, like a map of characters. The glossary of colloquial words really help to immerse the reader into the culture of the Ivory Coast.

Although the book explains social issues people in the Ivory Coast experience, they mirror life in North America in surprising ways. The authors illustrate them with beauty, humor, and intrigue. It explores some very real and tough social issues, including the very difficult experiences women in patriarchal societies face: cheating husbands, polygamy, teen pregnancy and beauty pageants. Through Moussa, the author also explores the difficulty of living up to a demanding father and the pressures placed on the only son to support and uphold the family from a young age.

The subjects could be emotionally draining, but the illustrations help maintain an air that is intriguing, light-hearted, and lively, without undermining the seriousness of the topics. The book ends with an amazing bonus that is fun, with whimsical illustrations on Ivorian culture, including the glossary, recipes, and cultural opinions of psychologists.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

If you enjoyed previous volumes of the Aya series, you won't be disappointed by this one. The artwork excellently depict life in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and effectively conveys storylines that will resonate in surprising and deep ways with today's reader.

Content Awareness Factors:

The plot contains profanity. There are elements of sexual encounters and a few frames with explicit images. Adultery and homosexual relationships are explored. This is a series where you need to read the books in order. This is the third in series.

Type of Book:
This is the third title in a young adult graphic novel that introduces readers to life as a teen in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Educational Themes:

The book offers plenty of material for talking about gender, social classes, and their roles in society. The idea of patriarchy is also brought up.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
16 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Volunteer. Reviewer age: 20
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. The books are great to read at any time. The illustrations are beautiful and the whole series can be collected so, to me, it's a nice collection to own!

Title Aya: The Secrets Come Out

Aya, Volume 3

Author Marguerite Abouet
Publisher Drawn and Quarterly © 2009
Illustrators Clément Oubrerie
ISBN 9781897299791
Material Hard Cover
Genres Family, Historical Fiction, Coming Of Age, Comics | Graphic Novels, Realism | Realistic Fiction, History - 1960s & 1970s, Social Issues, Africa | African People

You May Also Like...

Check out these books you may also like


Marguerite Abouet
Drawn and Quarterly © 2007