Cover Image: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

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Member Reviews

this book follows two women, throughout their teens and twenties, whose paths keep crossing. the star-crossed lovers vibes is so there, but this book is so much more than that too. this is a book ultimately about trauma and grief, but it is also about love and hope. we get to see these main characters be siblings, we get to see them make mistakes, we get to see them be preyed upon when they were so vulnerable, we get to see them triumph and realize they are deserving of good things no matter how many bad things happened in the past.

this is a hard book to talk about, and it really is filled with so much heartbreak, but it is beautifully crafted and really emphasizes that life is so short and so long at the very same time. and even though we are built on a lot of events that happened to us in the past, we are so much bigger than that. we all heal differently and we all cope differently, and we all keep going differently too. and i am so proud of you for continuing to keep going.

if you feel like you are in the right headspace to read some of these heavy themes and topics, i really recommend this one. and i can't wait to read more by nina lacour now.

trigger and content warnings: loss of a parent, loss of a loved one, depression depiction, grief depiction, talk of overdosing, missing loved one, panic attacks, child neglect, abandonment, parental abuse, sexual assault involving minors for money (brief, but brought up a lot, and very haunting), talk of periods, talk of blood, cheating/affair, divorce, power imbalanced relationship (not main characters together), heavy talk of drug addiction and drugs in general, brief mention of cancer, colorism, hospital settings, death, murder, homophobic family mention (briefly). this book goes into some really dark and intense places - so please use caution!
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Yerba Buena


Yerba Buena is a beautifully written story about Emilie and Sara. I loved the descriptions and how I could really get into Nina’s settings. 

There were some tough parts in this book that covered topics like addiction and sexual abuse. I found myself a couple times having to pause and slowly make my way through it as I took it all in. 

The narration on the audiobook was excellent! Thanks to @netgalley for this ARC of Yerba Buena which comes out this May!
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Beautiful and simple novel. Not usually a fan of contemporary but this one got me hooked right away with the mystery element at the beginning. Love how we spend so much time with the two main characters individually and letting the develop their own journey before pushing the two together. Along that same vain I love how their storylines were completely separate to show how couples don’t need to have their lives dedicated to their partners. The narrator was fantastic I don’t have anything negative to say about the! Such a quick listen I highly recommend for those looking for a simple quick standalone
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This book was not for me. I can appreciate this author and understand why some would enjoy it. I’m just not the typical reader for it.
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i did not finish this book! the beginning chapters, tho well written, were too bleak for me to read in 2022! I'm sure this is a great book but not right for me right now
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I've heard a lot about Nina LaCour's previous books but I never picked them up since they are YA. After seeing that she wrote an adult novel, I was excited to read it and I was not let down. 

Yerba Buena gives us the perspective of both Emilie and Sara, two women trying to find their way in adulthood after having difficult childhoods. This is a coming-of-age story of two different women trying to deal with their troubling past and leave it behind. They eventually find each other and are able to heal and fall in love.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away because I did enjoy going in blind. I did love these characters but in a different way than most books. LaCour's writing style made them feel so REAL that at times, I forgot it was fictional. They were two women in their late twenties that still didn't have life figured out for themselves, which made them very relatable. This did have a LOT of heavy topics so I would check the TW going in. 

I do wish we would have gotten more of their stories. Since it was dual POV, it felt like we only got half of each story and I wanted to know more about them.

The narrators for the audiobook did a fantastic job and I highly recommend this book. I broke my heart and put it back together. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio!
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I will start by stating I am likely not the ideal target audience for this novel. However, I am a big food and drink fan so I was able to find some common ground there. That being said, I can objectively say this is a strong novel. It is well-written, it a unique narrative, and the settings are evocative. It is a tight novel where a lot happens in a short amount of time through understated prose. As an audiobook, I enjoyed the narration and all of the aforementioned qualities came through as I listened. While I may not be the target audience, I would still recommend this book, and maybe the fictional restaurant as well.
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3.5 rounded up!

This book felt like a ballet. Everything was so beautifully written with tragedies throughout the entire book. The audiobook very much held my attention. I got lost a little in the middle, but the ending pulled me back on the correct track. I can see why Lacour’s YA books have been so popular, because this one was good. The book does start off as a YA vibe, but we follow characters from their teenage years into adulthood.

While I think this book is good, there is a lot happening in this book. 

Content warnings: murder, abandonment, drug abuse, homophobia, death of a parent, addiction, grief, toxic relationships, infidelity (I’m probably missing a few because they were a lot to keep track of).

And yes, you’re probably thinking, “wow how many storylines can one fit into a 300 page book and have it make sense?” Because halfway through I said to myself, “there’s no way this ties together.” And you’re also probably wondering, “with the amount of topics could this be a slow burn?” Your answer is yes but bold it, underline it, italicize it.

Had I read this book, I’m sure it would have taken me a bit longer, but because the audiobook is narrated by (the queen) Julia Wehlan, I finished quicker than any other slow burn I’ve read. I recommend the audio because of Wehlan, but unless you’re used to a lot of characters and storylines, this might be too much information for an audiobook.

Big thank you to Netgalley, Libro FM, Macmillan Audio for the ALC! You can get your copy May 31.
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I mean WOW. Way to knock it out of the park in the debit adult novel. Absolutely beautiful story. Loss, Love, Friendship and Life with it’s ups and downs. This is not your average romance book more about the journey and discovery. 

Julia Whalen is one of my favorite narrators so she really helped bring this story to life. 

Big Thanks to NetGalley and Nina Lacour for previewing this book.
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Yerba Buena ended up being much more than I had anticipated when I started to listen to it. Two lives swirling around each other and the two stories so delicately layered, it was a rich sensory experience. At times, I did get lost in the cast of characters, but the Yerba Buena world was so satisfying that it didn’t even matter in my overall enjoyment of the book.
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"Yerba Buena" by Nina LaCour is a beautifully written book. It's descriptions are lush and detailed and it's main characters (Sara and Emilie) are brought to life in a beautiful way that makes them relatable and realistic. The plot deals mainly in trauma and the lingering scars it can create as our two main characters attempt to forge a life that moves forward and avoid getting bogged by the past, as they have time and time again. It is a moving story, yet I couldn't help but get bogged down myself at several points in the book. The plot, while realistic and powerful, moves slowly at periods and although I cared about the characters and wanted to know what happened, I can't help but admit that these slow periods left me bored and disconnecting to the story. 

Despite the slow parts and sometimes the quiet nature of the plot in general, "Yerba Buena" was an enjoyable book and one that I think a lot of readers will find comfort in. I think the power of LaCour's writing and the characters she has created is that readers will be able to see themselves in Sara and Emilie, their relationship, their cultures, their backgrounds, etc.  

I have read LaCour's work before and found similarities in "Yerba Buena" that I enjoyed in her previous work. I will say that I enjoyed "We Are Okay" a bit more than "Yerba Buena," and found the pacing of that book to be a bit stronger.
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Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour follows star-crossed women Sara and Emilie. When Sara catches sight of Emilie one morning at Yerba Buena, their connection is immediate. But the damage both women carry, and the choices they have made, pulls them apart again and again. When Sara's old life catches up to her, upending everything she thought she wanted just as Emilie has finally gained her own sense of purpose, they must decide if their love is more powerful than their pasts.

This was my first Nina LaCour book and it made me want to immediately go and read the rest of her backlog books. I loved each character's journey's and was constantly anticipating their first substantial meeting. I highly recommend this book for fans of Sally Rooney and can't wait to read more from this author. 

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A telling of two separate lives, nearly touching but just out of reach. Both lives that were hurt, growing, escaping, learning, and becoming better. A reminder that though mistakes made may be significant and life-altering, there's nothing we can't come back from. Beautifully written with stunning descriptions and word choices. LaCour's word choice and writing style allow appreciation for the minute details of everyday things. This is a beautiful, raw story.
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I'm not going to lie.. I judged this book by it's cover (in a good way).. and the fact that Julia Wehlan was narrating the audiobook.. but I'm glad I did! I love following the ives of Emilie and Sarah and really getting to know both of them well before they crossed paths. This felt like a true coming-of-age story, which I think everyone can relate to. I loved that Sarah and Emilie were both struggling, but in very different ways. It's such a good picture of how each of us has our own baggage and things can impact everyone in different ways. 

While I wish we could've gotten to see a little bit more of Emilie and Sarah together, I did appreciate that it felt like we knew them very well separately, and that we were getting a good idea of what was going on in each of their lives. I loved the Yerba Buena was a common denominator for everything, as well. The descriptions of cocktails and food was really gorgeous, and the even the details of the houses that Emilie was renovating made it feel like we were there. 

All in all I thought this was a really immersive, emotional book, and I really enjoyed the audiobook listening experience. I think my only complaint is that I went into it thinking there would be a little more romance, but I would definitely call this more of a contemporary fiction than an actual romance book. Would still highly recommend it, though!
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That was..... beautiful. Wow. This was so much more than I was expecting. I only requested this audio ARC from NetGalley because Julia Whelan narrates, and I could listen to her perform the encyclopedia, or the dictionary, or my old statistics text book from college. 😜  So I knew going in that this would be well-narrated. What I didn't expect was to become so immersed in the lives of these characters, or to care as much as I did. 

I give this a 10/10. I loved everything about this story! It's categorized as a romance but I don't think I'd call it that. It's more a coming-of-age story about two broken souls finding themselves and, eventually, finding each other. The "romance" is not the focus or the point. (So all you anti-romance readers out there, don't pass this one up because it says "romance" -- it's about so so so much more than that!) 

This was my first LaCour book, but won't be my last. She is a brilliant, gifted writer!! 🙌 Yerba Buena was moving, evocative, often heartbreaking. And so so so beautiful. I can't wait to take another journey with Nina LaCour. ❤️
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This book starts out really intense. There are some pretty heavy topics in the beginning of this book that could make it difficult to start for some. (tw: SA, SW, drug use/abuse, OD, teen death, neglect, parent death). There continue to be some heavy topics but also some beautiful moments between the characters and how you seem them pass each other through life. The things that connect them and interweave their lives together. It’s lovely to see how Emily and Sara both grow while they find themselves and each other. There are a few moments of pretension where I felt like “wait that doesn’t feel authentic at all to this character” but they were fleeting. 

Some moments are hard to get through emotionally but I also felt like it paid off in the end.
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This book was so refreshing. It’s rare that I read a dual perspective book where I care about both characters equally. The characterization was great, they were likable, and I just had fun rooting for them. I did come into this with the expectation that it would be about their relationship. It was much more about each of their individual stories, working through their pasts and discovering things about themselves and their families. Still, this is one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I would definitely recommend it to people who loved Writers & Lovers. Thanks to NetGalley for early access to the audiobook!
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Nina LaCouer is a good storyteller and Yerba Buena was another good book. I didn't really find myself liking this boos so much as it was okay. I would recommend this book to my older students but at times it was quite repetitive .
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I read YERBA BUENA by Nina LaCour and absolutely adored this novel. I got early access to this novel via @netgalley and @macmillanaudio and I am so grateful! This book was incredible, I rated it 4.5/5 stars. 

This story follows Sara and Emilie, two women whose tumultuous lives intersect at the glamorous restaurant, Yerba Buena. Sara ran away from home at sixteen, leaving behind her brother and carrying wounds she doesn't know how to heal. Emilie is a perpetual student, stuck looking for some path that will give her meaning. Kept apart then tentatively joined together, these women try to build something beautiful. 

Trigger warning for death, drug abuse and overdose, brief description of gore, sexual abuse and exploitation, and other related topics. This was a beautiful novel. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator conveyed the settings so well. I loved the descriptions of the houses, the flowers. I preferred Sara's story to Emilie's. In the early sections, I thought Emilie was self-centered and one dimensional, but her growth and development was so well done. Readers really see her grow up and become confident in herself following the affair. I would recommend this novel to anyone. A point I would want to make is that this doesn't feel like a romance. It feels much more like an adult or literary fiction with the emphasis on language and writing as craft.
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I really enjoyed this book and the audio I think made this book even better. Julia Whalen is the best narrator (in my opinion) she made this story come alive. I really enjoyed this duel POV story between Sarah and Emily. Their lives their loves and everything in between was beautifully written. I feel like fans of Evelyn Hugo would really enjoy this. There is lgbtq rep in the main characters but that isn't what the story is about. It's about heartbreak, honesty, trust and courage to move forward with life. I really enjoyed this book and will be getting a physical copy to own.
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