The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
When Rose is a child she discovers she can taste emotions in her food. When her mother cooks her a birthday cake, she can feel her mother's sadness and depression in every bite. Mass produced junk food tastes metallic, like a factory. Her best friend's lunch sandwiches taste like the love her best friend's mother has when making them.
This was one of the strangest books I've read all year. You might think that's because Rose has the ability to taste the emotion of the cook in the food she eats, but that wasn't what struck me as the strangest part of the book. I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel, actually. I loved reading about Rose dealing with her newfound ability, how she dealt with it at school, and her trips to the nurse and emergency room because of it. No, what I thought was really strange was the direction the novel had in the second half, where it focused more on Rose's brother, Joseph. I could tell you about that, but that would totally ruin the book. I couldn't figure out what was up with Joseph until the very last chapter.
Stupefied. I think that's a good word for my feelings when I found out about Joseph.
The premise was good, but I would have liked more background information. At the end there was a hint of how Rose got her ability but that was never fully explored. I think that would have made for a much more interesting plot over her brother's, er... ability. That kind of background probably would have helped explain his "ability" better and made the book much less confusing.