Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

16 of 16
The Kitchen Daughter
288 pages; Gallery
Ginny Selvaggio, avid amateur cook and devotee of online culinary community Kitcherati, realizes that there's something different about her. She may never be officially diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome, but in The Kitchen Daughter (Gallery), 26-year-old Ginny is known by friends and family to be challenged as well as challenging. Then her parents die suddenly, and Ginny takes refuge in her favorite room—not to mention solace in the meals she can make there. Jael McHenry writes passionately about food and foodies—"If it had to be an olive his skin would be a cured Arbequina." More impressive, not one of her novel's plotlines—whether about an enraged ghost, an act of charity, or a fumbling flirtation between Ginny and her housekeeper's grief-stricken son, David—ends predictably. While Ginny is wonderfully single-minded about cooking, her fresh, sharp story has as many layers as a good pâte à choux.
— Bethanne Patrick