Sunday, May 15, 2022

Book Review: "Yerba Buena" by Nina LaCour

This is an utterly exquisite story of longing, regret, love, and the memories that haunt us.

Nina LaCour has been one of my favorite YA authors for years now, so I was tremendously excited that she was writing her first adult novel. This book is as beautiful and poignant as her YA books, and it filled my heart with emotion.

Sara was 16 when a tragedy forces her to leave home and head for Los Angeles. She makes a life for herself and ultimately becomes a sought-after bartender and mixologist. But her memories are full of a girl she once loved and a disturbing discovery.

Emilie has always been a bit directionless, unsure what she wants. Her academic career reflects her inability to commit to one thing or another. She gets a job arranging floral displays for restaurants, including Yerba Buena, and before she realizes it she falls into an affair with the chef/owner. She meets Sara at Yerba Buena and feels a connection, but neither is ready to take the first step.

As time passes, Sara and Emilie connect and realize the intensity of their feelings for one another, yet the secrets from their past that they cling to always seem to be a roadblock. How do they step beyond the fear, the regret in their lives to capture the longing and embrace their vulnerabilities?

I was drawn in from the very first page of this book. It’s sad and joyous and hopeful and these characters will resonate in my head for a long while.

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