Cover Image: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

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Member Reviews

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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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an audiobook ARC of this novel! 

This is a quiet novel. Definitely character driven, rather than plot driven––following the lives of two women whose journeys eventually intersect. I enjoyed the love story (love seeing more queer romances); again, it's quiet (which I liked) and the writing was solid. 

I did enjoy Sara's POV more than Emilie's––I thought Sara was a bit more developed. Though I did think her backstory with Grant was a bit out of left field. He felt like an underused character. I wish he had played a bigger role, as I liked their dynamic. 

It does get dark, which surprised me, considering this is marketed as a contemporary romance. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but would just give a CW for sexual assault/coercion (adult to minor). 

I enjoyed seeing each character's growth over the years and, overall, enjoyed my time spent with this novel. The audiobook was good, though there was a bit of an echo that was a little distracting. That may have been because it was a review copy! 

I would definitely recommend for folks looking for an adult sapphic romance.
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Thank you Netgalley for an ARC audiobook of this novel..
Yerba Buena is a book about being broken, but finding the person who fits your edges. But even though those edges fit, they still scrape together, and some pieces are missing, but maybe it’s still enough. Sarah and Emily make sense together, but they don’t make sense to themselves. Each hurt by something in their past, neither believe that they deserve love or goodness in their hearts.
I really liked these characters. They reminded me of myself in my early twenties; not knowing what I wanted, or how to get to a life where I was happy. The plot was a bit touch and go throughout. Sometimes what was happening was riveting, but other times not to much. The audio narration was wonderful as the narrator emphasized parts of sentences and words I’m not sure I would have if I was reading it in print. I also did like the writing style with so many descriptions of colors and patterns and the way light looked. Overall, three stars for good characters, somewhat boring plot, and lovely prose.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of "Yerba Buena" in exchange for an honest review. This book was beautiful! We learn about two characters' lives and watch them as they are ships in the night until they finally connect. To me, this novel was a lot about what lies under the surface: in families, communication, ourselves. "It was subtle; it was sweet, and it was just the faintest bit bitter." It's about a connection between these two women, but it's also about the relationship they have with themselves. A heartbreaking, tender, wonderful novel.
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This book follows two women throughout their teens and twenties who keep overlapping in their lives (Starcrossed lover vibes). This is a great coming of age story that deals with addiction, difficult family dynamics. It’s beautifully written and gut wrenching at times. Loved it!
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A tender, raw love story perfect for fans of All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Emily is stuck. Lost. Floundering as she tries to live up to her only somewhat self-imposed role as the “easy” daughter. Sarah is broken. Let down by virtually every adult in her life, she runs away from home at 16. Years later, Sarah and Emily meet, only briefly, at Yerba Buena. But, true to form, author Nina Lacour doesn’t allow the two women’s love story to begin so simply, so flawlessly. Their fledgling relationship is fraught with issues borne from their respective traumas, but it’s incredibly satisfying to see them truly come together in the end.

This isn’t escapism romance. It’s not light, fluffy, stop-it-I-can’t-handle-the-cuteness romance. It’s a love story that acknowledges that, first and foremost, we’re people with our own, sometimes traumatic, histories, and we bring all of that into our relationships with other people, both romantic or not. Yerba Buena was incredible - poignant, heartbreaking, tender. Part contemporary romance, part women’s fiction. This is a must read for 2022. And I can attest that the audiobook was excellent.
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4 ⭐️

I loved this book. I love listening to the stories about women overcoming challenges and making a name for themselves. I love hearing the stories of them finding their passions and excelling. I found Emilie a little difficult to like most of the time, but overall I think this book is wildly worth everyone’s time. The writing is beautiful and who wouldn’t want to spend a few hours reading about idealistic Los Angeles?

I received a copy of the audiobook from NetGalley and Macmillan Audio. It’s read by Julia Whelan, who is perfect reader. An enjoyable experience.
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I was expecting a wholesome sapphic story and instead got a trauma dump so unexpected, it felt like a murder mystery right outta the gate. I almost DNF'd until i got to Emilie's POV and enjoyed her chapters a LOT more than Sara's for the most part. BUT after that hurdle, it was really easy to get through the rest of the book in just a day. I think we saw a lot more of Emilie's character than Sara's, so it was harder to feel as connected to the latter's perspective. Also idk if literary fic just depresses me now but ig if that's what you're looking for, this book has it!

But the most fictional part of this literary fiction is that one 20-something year old girl was a homeowner not once, but THREE times before she even breached thirty. Hello??????

That aside, i overall enjoyed this book, but it isn't something i would likely pick up again. I would recommend this to friends who like stressful literary fiction with a kind of happy ending.
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Nina Lacour writing is so LUSH. It is gorgeous and "Yerba Buena" is no exception. I love when we see characters over the years and watch their stories overlap and entangle. This book is healing and hopeful and a fantastic audiobook. I would highly recommend.
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Yerba Buena is a story about two women and the pieces of themselves they hide from the world, themselves, and each other. It's an emotional character driven journey. Listening to this audio book was an experience in lives unfolding and blooming. I loved both Sara and Emilie's lives - how they intersect and diverge. While Sara's story is the one I kept going back to, I think Emilie was the character closest to my heart. 

Sara's story begins with loss, betrayal, and survival. What she is willing to do to escape. Whereas Emilie's story begins with a relationship that makes us question our own limitations and values. Watching their lives unfold, made for an experience that was both quiet and captivating. Yerba Buena is a testament to the messiness and complexity of life. To knowing that in some ways timing is what happens and what we make of it. All these steps and pieces of our lives we have to go through to get where we are.
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Nina LaCour just isn’t for me. Nothing interesting ever happens in her novels. Her writing also doesn’t add anything. 
This isn’t her fault, I’m just not into authors like her. In my experience her writing is similar to My year of Rest and Relaxation (only Moshfegh book I’ve read), and Writers & Lovers. These are books that bored me beyond belief. I kept waiting for anything interesting to happen. For these characters to be more complex. They just seemed so simple. Every decision they made was so easily guessed. 
I was hoping that since there was a minor sapphic romance that I would enjoy this, but it wasn’t enough. 
I do like that their storylines don’t rely on each other. They are their own person with their own ambitions, feelings and background.
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What a tasty dish! Kinda like a California gumbo with perfect sliced bite size bits of love, family drama, thriller. Absolutely enjoyable. Thank you
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In this never ending pandemic times, I’ve sought story with a strong plot line to carry me through while still glimpsing the inside of women’s lives in order to continue to build my stockpile of books to recommend to my female patients. As a cis-gender, heterosexual woman, Nina LaCour’s Yerba Buena appealed to me to expand my empathy and understanding of two women whose lives criss-cross with an undeniable pull yet obstructed by circumstances. 
To be fair, I am not a fan of the romance genre and this falls in that category. That is my issue - not the authors..
I also listened to this book - read by Julia Whelan - who is reason enough for fans of audiobooks to pick this one up. 
Nina LaCour has created multifaceted characters with messy lives. She sets them into worlds of beauty - flowers, a high end restaurant and craft cocktails. She gives them common struggles - with their own journey, finding their feet and dealing with family chaos. There are some trigger warnings here - particularly around sexual violence early in the book. 
Fans of Raven Leilani’s Luster will enjoy another messy protagonist story.
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Wonderful narrator. Amazing story. I enjoyed the plot.  It all seemed very coming of age dramedy. I rooted for Sara and Emily. I didn’t care for the SA in the beginning.. I don’t see why it was necessary and I do hope that’s added as a trigger warning in the synopsis.
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This book is definitely a top ten of the year for me already, what a wonderfully thoughtful, heartbreaking but hopeful, and even elegant love story.  Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour is done justice as an audiobook by the wonderfully talented Julia Whelan.  I could not stop listening to this book and finished it in one day and I have that book hangover feeling that readers talk about when deeply moved by a narrative and/or characters.  I am so grateful to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the chance to listen to this audiobook.

3 strong parts of the book
1.  Outstanding character development highlighted by strong voice narration.  The stories of Emily and Sarah as separate individuals intersecting was so powerful, I loved how rich and developed each character was as a person.  Their stories were filled with sadness and even trauma and yet also with resilience, with them finding their talents and passions as individuals, of richness of friends and family and self.

2.  The celebration of all kinds of love, queer relationships, siblings, friends... it's a wonderful story of how relationships can lift up people and keep them grounded.    

3.  Nuanced pacing.  This is a character driven story and it is filled with richness of setting, wonderful reflections on finding ways to not start over but persist (there was a lovely line about this idea), and a bit of a slow burn plot as characters live their lives, people come and go and come back or don't and characters make mistakes ... it's very real.

I can't recommend this book enough and I hope it brings happiness to many other readers.  I have to saw that if you loved The People We Keep last year then you must read/listen to Yerba Buena this year (Julia Whelan narrated that one last year as well!)
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This book is a magical love story and a testament to perseverance and trust in others.  Yerba Buena is a full circle story of two women who have to endure cruel and heartbreaking things in their youth and family lives.  They meet and have sparks ignite their attraction.  Timing and events intertwine to cause mistrust of feelings but the love is strong.  Along the framework of this story, many vibrant Literal descriptions of scenery and cooking and cocktails draw you in as a curiosity that keeps your reading. I found this book to be very enjoyable and inspiring in many different ways.  The story so genuine, I would read it again.  The characters are all well developed and important to the whole picture.

It will do you good to treat yourself to this novel!  I highly recommend reading.
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