Yerba Buena by Nina Lacour

Published: May 31, 2021

Paperback, 304 pages

(Thanks to Netgalley & Flatiron Books, I received an eARC)



The debut adult novel by the bestselling and award-winning YA author Nina LaCourfollowing two women on a star-crossed journey toward each other

When Sara Foster runs away from home at sixteen, she leaves behind not only the losses that have shattered her world but the girl she once was, capable of trust and intimacy. Years later, in Los Angeles, she is a sought-after bartender, renowned as much for her brilliant cocktails as for the mystery that clings to her. Across the city, Emilie Dubois is in a holding pattern. In her seventh year and fifth major as an undergraduate, she yearns for the beauty and community her Creole grandparents cultivated but is unable to commit. On a whim, she takes a job arranging flowers at the glamorous restaurant Yerba Buena and embarks on an affair with the married owner.

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.

At once exquisite and expansive, astonishing in its humanity and heart, Yerba Buena is a love story for our time and a propulsive journey through the lives of two women finding their way in the world.


I love Nina LaCour’s young adult novels, so I was so excited to read her adult debut. The writing was gorgeous and made it so hard to put down. I think I would categorize it more as a literary fiction novel.

I love that it was told in alternating points of view. Sara was a determined but grief stricken character. Emilie just seemed so lost in life. I enjoyed how it was such a slow burn romance when it did start budding.

This book immediately starts with love and loss and drags you right in. The backstory on both girls was intense and well told. I highly recommend this book as I had a hard time finishing it, because I simply didn’t want it to end.

Boston Book Reader