... this is less a romance than a study of complex, modern love. Readers will have to be patient: After meeting for the first time, it takes a while before the two women connect again ... Understated and evocative, Yerba Buena takes two fractured people from two fractured families and explores the ways they fit together — and the ways they don’t. While Nina LaCour’s novel is not plot-driven, it has the most momentum when the characters are engaged in their goals or are pursuing their passions; Emilie’s move into house-flipping later in the story delivers satisfying results for both character and reader ... LaCour’s writing invites a willingness to notice small details and be comfortable in gray areas ... observed with a cool, generous eye in spare, quiet prose that expertly illuminates the trauma that Sara and Emilie are both wrestling with, as well as their hope and healing. Ultimately, this is quiet but beautiful character-driven fiction that lingers like a perfectly mixed cocktail.
A quiet love story ... It takes a while for the story to gain momentum as Sara and Emilie’s lives slowly chug through a collision course toward each other ... Many of the themes...will be familiar to those who have read LaCour’s young adult work, although here the details of these stories, particularly Sara’s, are more explicit, even bordering at times on gratuitous ... But once the women’s paths cross...the story finds its rhythm, unfolding like the slowly blossoming flavors of a well-made drink ... The book is a sensory feast, teeming with vivid detail ... LaCour is always assembling things that are more than the sums of their parts: a well-balanced cocktail; a perfectly spiced gumbo; a family, part biological and part chosen. Disparate elements come together to reveal themselves as a whole, bitter and salty and sweet all at once.
... isn’t easily categorised. For me, it turned out to be nothing like I expected and yet held me captive for the entirety of the book. At times, Yerba Buena read like a reluctant memoir, at others almost like an exorcism of ghosts of the past that haunted the characters ... Anyone who’s ever been haunted by their mistakes, their losses or their regrets will surely feel connected to these women ... Ultimately, what drew me to this book was that, as much as it seems to be about star-crossed lovers, it really focused more on trauma and grief ... What I really enjoyed about Yerba Buena was how it showed you how transient everything in life is only to follow it up with something that left a permanent impression you can’t really put into words. LaCour brings this ineffable feeling to every topic discussed in the story ... Its heavy themes are explored in excruciating detail but if you’re up for it, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this heartbreaking yet rewarding story ... A true slice of life narrative, Nina La Cour’s adult debut Yerba Buena is a story of love and loss, family and friendship, of two women finding their way in the world—and each other. At times brutally honest and at others comforting and intimate, this story is perfect for anyone who has ever been kicked down by life only to get up again.