May 2022 Staff Picks

May 3, 2022 | Book Lists, News, Staff Picks

Need a good read before summer? Look no further!


Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

Don’t you love it when you finish a book so captivating and beautiful and lush and gorgeous and…and you discover the author has more books?

Yerba Buena is LaCour’s first foray into adult fiction. That’s all I knew about the author – at least until I finished the book and looked her up. I don’t read much young adult fiction, but I tell you what: I’m about to. Yes. Yerba Buena is that good. LaCour is the award-winning writer of several young adult novels – every one of which is now on my ‘to read’ list. But back to Yerba Buena.

Sara Foster and Emilie Dubois are each trying to transform a troubled past into something better.

Emilie is trying to decide what to do with her life. She’s spent 7 years in college and all she has to show for it are 5 (incomplete) majors – none of which have anything to do with the floral arranging job she ends up taking at a local restaurant. The restaurant is Yerba Buena – an elegant eatery with a very attractive – and very married – owner.

Emilie’s family used to be close, but her grandparents were the glue that kept the family together. When they’re gone, Emilie inherits the house and decides she’s going to bring it back to its former glory.

Sara grew up in a dysfunctional household where one parent was a drug dealer, the other an addict. Her mother finally gets clean, but not before wrecking her body; Sarah is 12 when her mom dies. With her mother gone, Sara’s friend Annie becomes everything to her. Everything. A few years after she loses her mother, though, Annie’s body is found floating in the river and Sara can’t stay in that place a minute longer. She and a friend, both teenagers, run away together toward a better future. Fast forward several years and Sara is one of the hottest bartenders in L.A, known for her hand-crafted infusions, syrups, shrubs, and cocktails she designs based on what can only be described as a kind of atmospheric chemistry. Her home base: Yerba Buena.

One morning, Emilie is at the restaurant, arranging the flowers for that evening. Sara happens to go in early for cocktail experiments. The two meet and the electricity is palpable.

This is in part a love story, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about connection, family, discovery, healing, transformation, and finding home. 


Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson

I could relate to Clovis in wanting to be mad but trying hard to cope as best as one can. Loved the illustrations and story for all to enjoy.


Jaws by Peter Benchley

My latest read was actually a re-read! I decided right before beach season, while working in a beach town, that I should give the class Jaws another go. I can say this choice did not disappoint. It read like a horror story. Each time the story was being told from the shark’s perspective the hair on the back of my neck was up! Every scene that anyone was in the water I was practically holding my breath waiting, just for the inevitable. Not only is this a spine tingling thriller but it also has you wrapped up in the complexities of class in a tourist town as well as the struggling marriage of the police chief. Rich characters, terrifying attack scenes and a very close to home feeling made Jaws a new favorite of mine!


Ghosts by Dolly Aderton

My May staff pick is Ghosts by Dolly Alderton. It is a witty, charming, and at times sad book about life, love, and heartbreak featuring an all too common phenomenon in dating nowadays, ghosting. Absolutely adored this book


They Called us Enemy by George Takei

I have many thoughts to honor Asian Pacific Heritage month.

I loved Axie Oh’s recent novel The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, and Crazy Rich Asians By Kwan. I’ve already done Pachinko, so I’ll have to go with… drum roll please….
They Called Us Enemy
In, They Called Us Enemy, George Takei tells the story of his family who was kept in a Japanese Internment camp during WWII. Learn about his father’s deep belief in Democracy and the difficult choices his mother had to make. This New York Times bestselling graphic novel is a must read.