Michikusa House by Emily Grandy
From Homebound Publications
After enduring a complicated recovery from eating disorders, Winona Heeley is struggling to return to normal life. Her mother recommends a change in scenery and arranges for Winona to stay with friends in rural Japan, at Michikusa House.
The centuries' old farmhouse hosts residents who want to learn about growing their own food and cooking with the seasons. Jun Nakashima, an aspiring kaiseki chef, is one such resident. Like Winona, Jun is a recovering addict and college dropout. While the two bond over culinary rituals, they change each other's lives by reconstructing long-held beliefs about shame, identity, and renewal.
But after Winona returns to her Midwest hometown, and despite her best efforts to keep in touch, Jun vanishes.
Two years pass, and Win is about to drop out of university for a second time, a decision that irreparably fractures her relationship with her partner of nearly a decade. Refusing to accept permanent failure and disappointment, Winona once again seeks revival through gardening. Much to the chagrin of her parents, she accepts a job as a groundskeeper at a local cemetery and begins searching for Jun Nakashima once more.