Cover Image: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

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Member Reviews

Something about this I couldn’t fall in love with. As interesting as the title, cover, and premise are, the writing itself didn’t wow me. More often than not, I was confused about the settings, characters, and overall plot.

I had to DNF once reading it became work. Perhaps I’ll try again one day, and it’ll be everything I want and need, but for now, nope!

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Absolutely beautiful 5 ⭐️ read

Where to even begin? This book follows two woman as they navigate and grow through their lives—then they find one another.

Sara has a terribly sad beginning, wish there was more of Grant from the first part of the book! . Loved her journey and story of success becoming a sought after bartender. Family dynamics were so chaotic and messy and was beautifully written and real.

Emilie’s sister dynamics were great, relationship with Jacob was interesting, messiness of doing odd jobs and finding your way in your twenties (floral arrangements, caretaker, house flipping).

As always, Nina’s prose and descriptions were strong and gorgeous —highlighted many large passages of writing. I enjoyed how this love story was raw and real. They aren’t perfect characters and neither is their relationship. This story is not for everyone, people will probably say it’s boring since it’s mainly just following them through life. But I absolutely adored these characters and I hope the two stay together and create such a happy life after all they have even through❤️

Thank you NetGalley & the publisher for the ARC! It was such a wonderful read by Nina once again! Can’t wait to see what she does next in Adult Fiction!

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Lovely book, a much more full-bodied story than the summary gives it credit for. Heartfelt and authentic with well-rounded characters. Terrific detail within the characters’ professions. I’ll be reading more from Nina.

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This was different than what I expected initially, but I'm so glad I read it. I have not read Nina LaCour's other books (I know that they are YA or mostly YA) but I'm glad I got to try this one as an introduction to her work. I will probably go back to some of her earlier work. This was heavier than I expected, but I still loved the depth of the story and the way we got to learn about the characters.

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This book was amazing. I coudn't put it down. It was magical. Higly recommended! The characters, the plots, the writting: wonderful and perfect.

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Such an awesome book. I have read some of Nina LacCour's YA books before and they always make me come away thinking. The emotions that the author can convey within a book is amazing. I absolutely loved that she took the characters on this journey from their teenage years into early aduthood. I wish that more authors would explore this age range because it is a very unrepresented portion in books. All around 5 stars.

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Oof. This book hurt. Nina always tells important stories, and I absolutely loved her first foray into adult fiction.

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i ADORED this book - instant 5 stars. gorgeous prose, heartbreaking human story, and sapphic as hell. i'm reading this for my sapphic book club @sapphlit and i cannot wait to chat about it with everyone.

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emotional • family trauma • becoming

Another hauntingly beautiful text from LaCour. The multiple perspectives, descriptive imagery, and character development leads for a slow burn read.

You will find yourself lost in the setting, feeling the anger and heartache at times, but I am certain all readers will be satisfied with the resolution.

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Having recently finished “Yerba Buena” by Nina LaCour, I am happy to have had the chance for the preview; thank you NetGalley and Flat Iron Books!

Yerba Buena follows two women who are on a path to each other and this emotional story is everything that happens to them before and during this journey. The timeline often jumped from here to there and there to here, with a mystery to resolve, and heart-aches to reveal. With Yerba Buena in each of their separate worlds, it all tied up nicely in the end, with a garden full of this healing herb growing as new love for both Sara and Emilie became a possibility.

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Wow. What a beautiful, intense, emotional, and deep story about family, friends, love, life, and everything in between. Sara and Emilie's lives are told separately and together. Very different but so similar. They both are searching for meaning and more than what their families and hometowns could give them. Turns out that they are an integral part of each other's journeys.

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This is my first read by Nina LaCour, so I was not sure what to expect. This is a story of two damaged lives finding each other in a plant shop. It has a lot of triggers: sex, drugs, abuse, and young death. The first couple of chapters were great paced, but as I kept reading I found myself not carrying about the story because the character's were not that interesting and it was a little hard to follow the changes of POV. I would say that this would be great for someone that loves detail on everything.

Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books.

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This book is bound to be a summer favorite. Love, loss, regret, and inner truths are all featured in this piece that feels like a coming of age story. I loved it!

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This one was much heavier than I anticipated and while I should have been prepared for that after reading We Are Okay by LaCour, I wasn't. It's well written and weaves together the lives of Sarah and Emily in a really poetic way. At times it felt a little unbalanced but I ended up enjoying how she brought things full circle. Overall, it was sad and beautiful but did not quite grip me the way I was hoping it would

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TW: Sexual, drug, alcohol abuse & death of a teenager.

Sarah and Emilie didn’t grow up together. But they both share a past that haunts them. Sarah lost her best friend, her girlfriend. Emile is is struggling to find a career for herself. They meet at Yerba Buena through the magic of herbs and plants. Told in alternating POVs and with flashes of the past, we follow along ethic journey to forgiveness.

The pacing starting out so good and gut wrenching. It was hard. Some very difficult things happened and I was so enthralled. Somewhere along the half way mark I began to struggle. I had a hard time connecting with the characters or wanting to know their story. A very beautiful book buy ultimately something was lacking.

Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron Books for a copy of this eARC

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The novel is equal parts heartbreaking and soul feeding - and damn near perfect. I was drawn to the various calls to Yerba Buena as a plant and metaphor and how it affected all the characters. The romance feels so satisfying and honest while showing how two people can deal with trauma and still make things work. The characters felt fully realized and I could read their stories forever. What a stunning adult debut from Nina LaCour!

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At its core, 𝐘𝐄𝐑𝐁𝐀 𝐁𝐔𝐄𝐍𝐀 by Nina LaCour is a love story featuring two women, each lost in her own way, slowly finding their way toward each other, but it's also so much more. These are women who on the surface have little in common. Sara has had a hard life, a life of loss and disappointment, but she’s driven. By sheer will, she’s going to build a life for herself. Emilie grew up in a strong, loving family, but she’s somehow lost, still working on her degree after 5 majors and 7 years as an undergrad. She’s trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. So far, it may sound like sort of a fluff book, but it’s definitely so much more. Both women have darkness in their lives and much to overcome.⁣

This book marks Nina LaCour’s adult debut, and I could feel a little bit of the YA world she comes from in this story, but I think that’s what makes 𝘠𝘦𝘳𝘣𝘢 𝘉𝘶𝘦𝘯𝘢 a perfect summer read. It should be in everyone’s beach bag! With good storylines, likable characters, a bit of mystery, and a little romance, what more can you want? On top of that, if you decide to go the audiobook route (as I did), it’s narrated by Julia Whelan! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25⁣

Thanks to an ALC, and to @flatiron_books for the #gifted ARC of #YerbaBuena.

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This BOOK!! I loved this book so much it might be one of the best ones I've read this year. I've always been a huge fan of Nina LaCour and I was so honored to get an ARC of her debut adult novel, Yerba Buena. This story is told from dual perspectives of the lives of the two main characters throughout their teens and twenties and how their lives intersect. I loved experiencing life through the perspectives of both characters, LaCour writes so well that I feel truly understood in both characters. Her prose is fantastic, but the book is also exciting and kept my attention. I didn't want to put it down. If you love contemporary fiction with a sapphic romance thrown in and some beautiful writing and storytelling, this book is for you. Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron books for the ARC!

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Yerba Buena first and foremost, is a love story. It follows the stories of Sara, a traumatized youth that leaves home after a tragic event at 15, and Emilie, a woman who is unhappy with her life, and seems to just be floating through, going with the flow. They cross paths several times in their life, but due to misunderstandings and situations beyond their control, they have trouble making their instant attraction work. This follows their sometimes star crossed story.

This book is a true love story. By that, I mean it is not all rainbows and happy endings. Life is not like that, and I appreciate when authors are more realistic with their plot lines than the typical "romance" novel. While this is a book about romantic love, I would definitely not call it a "romance novel". It will will appeal to a wide array of people, not just those in the LGBT+ set. I loved the softness of this story, even as a straight female.

This book would definitely appeal to LGBT+ readers, as well as just plain readers who enjoy a literary fiction with a LGBT twist.

Thank you to the Author, Publisher and Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I am a great fan of author Nina LaCour, having read several of her novels for young adults. Her books have a dreamlike quality as they focus mainly on young, gay teens. The fact that they are gay is secondary to other issues that they might have, such as depression, and wavering self-confidence. But all of them are about how the characters move from children to adults. Although her newest book, Yerba Buena, is a novel for (and about) adults, many of the same themes continue.

I was initially put off by the beginning of the novel due to the harsh reality of one of the characters. I found it all rather depressing to read. However, I stuck with it. This is a book about getting past family baggage. The characters have learned coping mechanisms that may have helped them as kids, but are doing them no favors as adults. So what was at first very depressing, comes out hopeful. I became very invested in the characters of Sara and Emilie, and rooted for them to find happiness. This is a wonderful book.

Trigger Warning:

Be aware of some really disturbing scenes of sexual exploitation at the beginning of the story.

What I Liked:


Both Sara and Emilie have significant challenges in their lives. Sara comes from a family where her father is involved in something illegal. Coming from a small town in Northern California, Sara falls apart when someone important to her dies. She can't cope, so runs away. Solo life is filled with promise, but also hard choices. She is constantly running from her past so she never puts down roots.

Emilie is part of a family where her sister's problems take center stage. Because of this, she is a people pleaser. She feels like if she doesn't make constant compromises, the people she loves tend to leave. She needs to figure out how to get past this, or she will always be disappointed. No one ever really can make her happy but herself.


Sara and Emilie meet and are instantly attracted to each other. But their timing is always lousy. Either Sara or Emilie have family problems to face, or they are dating other people. Their romance happens in starts and stops. There are a lot of miscommunications that carry over months. When they see each other again, they need to start fresh. But they both know that there is a connection there that they need to explore.


I loved seeing Sara and Emilie grow as people over the course of the story. Sara's journey is accepting the past and realizing that she can't save other people. She is so afraid of going back home, that she misses out on being a part of her brother's life. She also needs to take a step back and understand how much she has been able to accomplish in her life.

Emilie can't seem to finish what she starts. A perpetual student, she keeps changing majors. By not making a commitment, she doesn't have to take responsibility for her choices. The same issues occur when she starts dating a married man. Even though it's exciting, her affair is just another way to hold off on making any real connections with people who she might have a future with.

I liked how both Sara and Emilie had to confront their choices (and non-choices), in order for them to let go of their issues.

What I Was Mixed About:

I found the beginning of the Sara's story very confusing and creepy. It was unclear to me why Sara's father acted the way he did (which could be completely my fault as a reader). And I thought it was kind of out of left field when Sara gets abused by one of her father's friends. Later in the story, everything makes a lot more sense, and perhaps that was deliberate on the author's part. But it creeped me out that Sara could be so easily be put in a situation where she could be sex trafficked. I suppose the author was also making a deliberate choice to show how vulnerable young people are.

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