Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Just Like You: Book summary and reviews of Just Like You by Nick Hornby

Just Like You

by Nick Hornby

Just Like You by Nick Hornby X
Just Like You by Nick Hornby
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published Sep 2020
    368 pages
    Genre: Romance

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

This warm, wise, highly entertaining twenty-first century love story is about what happens when the person who makes you happiest is someone you never expected.

Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she'd been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she's a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore. So when she meets Joseph, she isn't exactly looking for love--she's more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It's not a match anyone one could have predicted. He's of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some maneuvering to see it through.

Just Like You is a brilliantly observed, tender, but also brutally funny new novel that gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person--someone you didn't see coming.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Filled with laugh-out-loud charm, Hornby's movie-ready follow-up to State of the Union is a hopeful balm for our unsettled postpandemic times." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Hornby is good company on the page and offers insights on his characters with aplomb, demonstrating an investment in each of their voices and an interest in the forces that draw people to one another. This is great fun." - Publishers Weekly

"The fans Hornby has won with his comely backlist—High Fidelity (1995), About A Boy (1998), How To Be Good (2001), etc.—might not change their favorite but they won't be disappointed. Hornby is as charming as ever in this nimble, optimistic take on the social novel." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about Just Like You was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own reviewwrite your own review

Cloggie Downunder

entertaining and thought-provoking.
Just Like You is the eighth novel by award-winning British author, Nick Hornby. When Lucy Fairfax and Joseph Campbell embark on their relationship, neither is looking too closely at the reasons, or the likely outcome: they are acting on mutual attraction, and find that they enjoy each other’s company.

Lucy, a separated mother of two, is Head of the English Department at the local high school, forty-two years old and white. Joseph does various part-time jobs including, football coaching, baby-sitting and working in the local butcher’s, is twenty-two years old, and black. When they are together, they are happy. Despite their quite disparate backgrounds, they are interested in each other’s lives, enjoy their conversations (the coming Brexit vote is on everyone’s lips), and have great sex.

Lucy’s young sons love spending time with Joseph, although there’s less of that now that he comes to spend time with Lucy instead of baby-sitting them. Because this is a covert relationship: they don’t go out. It is when the result of the Brexit vote is announced that they realize just how closeted their lives have become, and how different they really are. The relationship ebbs fairly swiftly if amicably. Joseph still babysits. They both date others. But is it really over?

The insecurities that need to be soothed with reassurances in any relationship are a little different here, taking in race, age gap and level of education: “He was just a kid. He could see that now. It was because everything was new that he was embarrassed and raw. He wasn’t established in any field, really. He’d be bringing her stuff, like a puppy, for a long time to come, and she could only rub his belly and call him a good boy until he was an old dog with no new tricks.”

The Brexit referendum backdrop allows Hornby to explore the effect of such an issue on everyday life: “Lucy understood it now. The referendum was giving groups of people who didn’t like each other, or at least failed to comprehend each other, an opportunity to fight. The government might just as well be asking a yes/no question about public nudity, or vegetarianism, or religion, or modern art, some other question that divided people into two groups, each suspicious of the other. There had to be something riding on it, otherwise people wouldn’t get so upset.”

There are plenty of (sometimes darkly) funny moments in this tale, including kids who are much more aware than their mother thinks, a mother who twigs to her son’s activities via Find My Phone, and a confession by text. As well as heading in an unpredictable direction, Hornby’s latest is entertaining and thought-provoking.

Cathryn Conroy

I Was Enchanted! This Is a Delightful Love Story with an Imaginative Plot and Snappy Dialogue
What a fun love story! The plot is imaginative, the dialogue snappy, and the characters feel like real people. It isn't profound. It isn't great literature. But it is a delight to read.

Written by Nick Hornby and taking place in London in 2016, this is the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back love story—with a twist. The boy, Joseph, really is a boy at age 22. He's immature, floundering in his multiple part-time jobs, and still living at home with his mom. The girl, Lucy, is a 42-year-old woman and the head of the English department at an inner-city school. She is the mother of two boys and is in the process of getting a divorce from an alcoholic, drug-addicted husband. Lucy hires Joseph to babysit her boys for occasional evenings out, and the sparks fly. But they both realize the futility of a relationship with such a huge age gap--not to mention that Lucy is highly educated and an avid reader, while Joseph finished secondary school and hasn't read a book since. He's black. She's white. (You know, just to add to the complications!) So, what could possibly go wrong—even with those sparks?

It's not a perfect book. Some of the conversations between Lucy and Joseph are tiresome, longwinded, and circuitous. Better editing would have helped. But this is a relatively minor complaint.

Intriguingly, the 2016 Brexit vote, which is constant background noise in the storyline, is a bold (and impossible to miss) metaphor for Lucy and Joseph's relationship. It's an interesting literary ploy.

This is a really sweet and entertaining love story replete with wisdom, humor, and all the awkwardness and excitement most of us feel in a new relationship. I was enchanted!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Nick Hornby Author Biography

Nick Hornby is the bestselling author of eight novels, including High Fidelity and About a Boy, and several works of non-fiction including his ground-breaking debut, Fever Pitch. He has written numerous award-winning screenplays for film and television including Brooklyn, Wild and, most recently, State of the Union.

Author Interview
Link to Nick Hornby's Website

Other books by Nick Hornby at BookBrowse
  • Speaking With The Angel jacket

8 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more romance...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Last Bloodcarver
    The Last Bloodcarver
    by Vanessa Le
    The city-state of Theumas is a gleaming metropolis of advanced technology and innovation where the ...
  • Book Jacket: Say Hello to My Little Friend
    Say Hello to My Little Friend
    by Jennine Capó Crucet
    Twenty-year-old Ismael Reyes is making a living in Miami as an impersonator of the rapper/singer ...
  • Book Jacket: The Painter's Daughters
    The Painter's Daughters
    by Emily Howes
    Peggy and Molly Gainsborough are sisters and best friends, living an idyllic life in 18th-century ...
  • Book Jacket: Beverly Hills Spy
    Beverly Hills Spy
    by Ronald Drabkin
    When it comes to espionage, not only is truth stranger than fiction, sometimes it can be downright ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Half a Cup of Sand and Sky
by Nadine Bjursten
A poignant portrayal of a woman's quest for love and belonging amid political turmoil.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The House on Biscayne Bay
    by Chanel Cleeton

    As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide.

  • Book Jacket

    The Stone Home
    by Crystal Hana Kim

    A moving family drama and coming-of-age story revealing a dark corner of South Korean history.

Who Said...

The less we know, the longer our explanations.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

S B the B

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.