Cover Image: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

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Member Reviews

Yerba Buena is the story of two women orbiting one another and finding love in the aftermath of their own traumas, hangups and grief. Years before they will meet, readers are introduced to a young Sara Foster, a teenager who endures some of the worst the world has to offer and runs away to escape it all. Hundreds of miles away, Emilie DuBois is struggling to find herself and her wants. When they finally meet as successful twenty-somethings in LA, it’s electric for them both, but neither is in the right place to pursue what they feel. What follows is a back and forth of longing, with the same notes of finding oneself that LaCour wrote so masterfully in her young adult protagonists. When Sara and Emilie do finally circle into one another the pieces fit in both a puzzling and a perfect manner. 

Throughout it all, LaCour brings a sensual prose full of flowers and flavors to a story about a woman who will craft expensive cocktails and another who will fashion exquisite florals. The restaurant where they meet is called Yerba Buena, but so is the herb that Sara is given as a tea in her youth, the flower that Emilie adds to her first flower arrangements and the drink that Sara makes for Emilie the first night they crash into one another. It’s another example of the triumphant way that LaCour arranges imagery into something powerful and seductive. 

Yerba Buena – the novel – is what Sara’s cocktails and Emilie’s flowers are: powerful, seductive, sensual, crafted, fashioned. Treats for all the senses, begging for tactile engagement in the same way her lovers also beg to be touched.
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2 ⭐️ // I noticed Yerba Buena on NetGalley and Book of the Month, and the description caught my interest. I listened to the audiobook ARC, but the story was very slow. The timeline was confusing at times, and the ending was underwhelming. Unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations.

This story is not a lighthearted tale, and it wasn’t focused on the love story or the restaurant as I expected. I would classify the story as women’s literature. The character development was alright, and it didn’t capture my attention. Plus, the narrator’s voice was monotone, so I was easily distracted while listening. Overall, it was just an “okay” read, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

What I liked —
🖤 Diverse Characters
✊ Overcoming Tough Situations
🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQ+ Rep
💕 Romance (not the focal point)
😢 Emotional Story

Read this book if —
🎓 You couldn’t pick a major in college
💐 Florals interest you
💰 You’ve learned to survive on an empty wallet
🍹 Bartending is your secret talent
🍽 You enjoy hosting dinner parties

TW: overdose, self-harm, depression, grief, death (partner, parent), sexual assault, infidelity, prostitution, cancer, drug abuse, alcoholism, blood

Thank you, NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Macmillan Audio, for providing me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

A Goodreads review will be posted shortly.
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Another fantastic audio listen, this follows two women on their journey toward each other. I found each of the women well developed, the writing fantastic, and the story compelling. AND part of it takes place in and around a restaurant, another soft spot I love. For fans of One Last Stop and A World Between.
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The book follows the lives of Emilie and Sara, from their teen years through adulthood, and shows the ways their lives have intersected over the years. There’s starcrossed lovers vibes, but the book explores so many things - PTSD, grief and loss, eldest daughter syndrome, shitty parents, sibling relationships, addiction, depression, and just…A Lot of traumatic shit. 

It had a lot of building tension that was written in a very lyrical way (also narrated in a very beautifully way by Julia Whelan) and it was resolved…gradually, almost softly. There’s enough material there for at least 2 books, but the story felt whole. Overall, a pretty solid read, though not quite the happy rom com I was expecting based on the cover. 

Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Julia Wehlan's voice is everything. In the short time I've been listening to audiobooks she is my favorite narrator. That said, I didn't love this book and only continued to listen because I love her narration
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Very difficult book to read because of its themes and content. If you are looking for an emotional read this is for you!
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When I first saw the cover of Yerba Buena, I thought the characters would be Hispanic and boy was I wrong! Was not what I thought it would be, but I’m so glad I was able to finally get a hold of this book! Seriously, the most beautiful book cover I’ve seen in a while.

Yerba Buena follows the lives of Sara and Emilie and their personal growth of a journey full of devastating events. When their lives finally intertwine, it seems they aren’t the perfect solution to each other. This kind of rawness is so human and expected in real life and I’m so glad Nina Lacour brings us the honest truth.

I recommend reading this book for the simple fact that life doesn’t always have happy endings, just endings and that’s okay too.

Thank you to Nina Lacour, NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the ARC.

#yerbabuena #ninalacour #netgalley
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Ok this was beautiful but I needed more. There was a lot of build up to the amazing relationship that Emilie and Sara could have and then nothing really happened. Star crossed lovers but it was like they could never stay together for long. I wanted them together and happy. I love both their stories. The audio was a little hard to follow because the voice was the same for both Sara and Emilie so it was a little confusing at times. I enjoyed listening to this and never thought I would cry over a plant and what it means to these characters. But here we are and I want more of it.
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This was a beautifully written, well-thought out love story between two very different women. It is a character-driven love story told over the span of many years, and dives very deeply into the lives of its leads in a way that evokes true raw emotion every time. Despite the fact that this may not have been an instant favourite for me (though I certainly did enjoy it!), I recognize that I am not its intended audience. This is a wonderful work of literature that is going to strike a chord with so many readers, and I am crossing my fingers that Nina LaCour delves into the adult fiction genre more in the future.
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Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for this alc. 

This is my first DNF of the year. I usually do not DNF books but I got to 50% with this one and was feeling absolutely nothing. I was not interested in the characters, not interested in the plot, not interested to know how the story would end. 

In this book we follow Sarah Foster from her teenage years to her adult life. She runs away from home when she is 16 and goes to Los Angeles where years later she meets Emilie Dubois. Both of them have a lot of baggage, trauma, complicated family backgrounds, both of them have dealt with addiction in different ways. Their relationship is not perfect but you can feel the attraction and the love between them. 

So there is drug abuse, alcohol addiction, prostitution, romance, but listening to their complicated lives I felt nothing, it did not do anything to me, it felt empty and uninterested. I did not connect with the story. I believe it was not a book for me, or not the right time for me to be reading this one, and it would be perfectly enjoyable for other people. I would say if you are interested in Yerba Buena give it a try.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC audiobook!!

I really enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little hard for me to follow and keep track of, and it took a bit for it to hold my attention, but once the storylines crossed, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and couldn’t wait to keep listening. Ultimately, I really liked how their stories weaved and I better understood and appreciated why the book started the stories so separately. I think the thing I liked most about this book was that it’s so much more than can ever be summed up in a synopsis. There’s so much nuance and side storylines that help move the primary story along as well.

Overall, will be recommending this book!
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If you love a heartfelt story of family, friendship, heartbreak, food, and finding yourself this all of that  and then some woven beautifully into the most tender story I have read all year. The story of Yerba Buena is one I know I will think of often, and fondly, for years. I have been a fan of Nina Lacour for many years and was beyond excited to see that she was releasing an Adult fiction and I'm happy to report, it was every bit as good as her others (read We Are Okay immediately if you haven't!). 

The audio was beautiful, per usual from Julia Whelan, and she told the story with all the emotion that I need in an audiobook. 

4.5 stars, rounded up for NetGalley!
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This is a great book! It felt so well written and I was really attached to Sara and Emilie as characters. I got the audiobook from NetGalley and Julia Whelan narrates, she was excellent as usual. My only complaint is that I wish it was two narrators because sometimes I got confused on which POV the chapter was. Thankful to BOTM for putting this on my radar, I want a copy so I’ll definitely add it on to a future box.
Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the advance copy of the audiobook, pub date is 5/31!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for gifting me with an Advanced Listener’s Copy of Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour. In exchange I offer my unbiased review.

First, absolutely gorgeous cover design and all the love for Julia Whelan’s  narration. I was hooked from the first page and was transfixed by Nina LaCour’s magnificent writing. 
A truly beautiful, but at times uncomfortable story of two young women: Sara & Emilie - each harboring pain, loss, regret and family secrets.
Both looking to unburden their past, both too afraid to let go.
It’s a story with missed opportunities, words left unspoken, grief, heartache but also friendship, growth, healing and happiness. 
I LOVED this book 💜
Audio narration was excellent 🎧
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I got an ARC of this audiobook.

This is a great example of LaCour’s work. It is intensely emotional, while still having a meandering pace that is both too slow and exactly the right speed at the same time.

This is labeled as an adult book, but very little sets this apart from LaCour’s YA books. The way that it winds slowly through these incredibly emotional points of someone’s life and how those characters react is similar. I can’t really pinpoint the place that makes this adult instead of YA. Some of the content is a bit more adult, like survival sex work done by minors. But there is still the focus on death, growing up, healing, and just trying to survive big things.

The first chunk of the book was difficult to listen to. The two women were very hard to tell apart. The only way that I could tell who was who was based on who they were around. Their romance didn’t exactly make sense. A lot of the plots didn’t make any sense, but they were still enjoyable to go down. This is not a book that holds up well to guessing what will happen. It just feels like two people that keep falling into mild adventures and don’t really have any plans. The way that everything is handled would limit who I am recommending this book to, because it really is just a walk around instead of a journey.

The narrator had a lovely voice. There wasn’t much that was added by the narration choices, but the narration did not take away from the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I can see why some people would be annoyed by it. The MCs are really too similar in the beginning, they don’t meet or interact until about half way through the book, there is no real plot. It just is. Very LaCour.
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This was my first Nina LaCour novel and I was blown away. I know it's her first adult novel and now I need to read her YA books. The prose was gorgeous with detailed descriptions that normally I'd skip over but in this context it really worked. Perhaps it was the wonderful narrator that had me riveted. Emily and Sara were so realistic and compelling and so many times I just wanted to hug them. This was more a coming-of-age story about grief and loss and a search for identity with a little romance thrown in. I loved the Southern California setting and hearing the descriptions of the various towns that I know so well. Outstanding adult debut and I highly recommend the audiobook.
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When I had read the description of the book, I did not pick up on the fact that the two main characters would be in a romantic relationship which each other.  The opening scene turned me off.  I respect everyone and who they want to love, I just prefer not to read about it when it is the focus of the whole book.
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A beautifully written and narrated coming of age story about two queer young women living and working in an LA restaurant. Told in alternating POVs between Emilie and Sarah, with a dual timeline structure we slowly piece together each woman's complicated past and family and watch as they fall in love, deal with losses and find a way to make a relationship work. This was a slower paced book than I was expecting and while Julia Whelan does an incredible job narrating, I found the story dragged a little too much for my tastes. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my ALC!
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Nina LaCour is one of my favourite YA authors and I'll go wherever she takes me.   This novel starts out like a YA -- in fact, I was wondering why it wasn't -- before advancing beyond the final pages of where a YA would leave off and taking us into the character's adult lives.   Nina has a way with words that's unparalleled and I loved this book, although I did find parts of it confusing and had to go back and forth in the narrative to understand where I was, which may speak to my concentration abilities as much as the book itself.   This was not my favourite of all of Nina's books, but I loved it and I hope she continues to explore her "adult" voice.
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Undeniably lovely in some ways, but ~85% of this novel was pure tragedy. I REALLY wish the blurb had clearly conveyed this so I could have mentally prepared myself for sobbing through my commute. Although the blurb *does* successfully indicate the possibility of wet surprises, those are made to sound like a very different type of wet surprise (ahem) than the teary and snot-filled moments I experienced.

I could probably write more, but I’m going to stop typing this so I can go find a hug and a bathtub sized serving of ice cream instead.
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