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Just Like You

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,819 ratings  ·  425 reviews
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
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Riverhead Books (first published September 17th 2020)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  1,819 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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This is the latest from Nick Hornby of About a Boy, Fever Pitch and Hi-Fidelity fame, a story set in London 2016 in the run up to the Brexit referendum where the divisions in Britain are laid bare. Many of the numerous issues that divide the nation are echoed in a romance between a couple that at first glance have little in common and everything that suggests that at best it would be a short lived affair that will fizzle away. White, middle class, educated Lucy is in her forties, a teacher with ...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Set in the months leading up to the Brexit referendum in 2016, Lucy, a white 42 year old single mother of two, unexpectedly finds love with Joseph, a black 22 year old man of multiple part-time jobs. Just Like You follows the ups and downs of what an interracial relationship with a large age gap is like in a country getting more divided by the week.

I loved Nick Hornby’s early novels - High Fidelity, About a Boy and How to Be Good - but I lost interest starting with A Long Way Down (unfinished)
Andy Marr
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nick Hornby is undeniably one of the most important British authors of the past 25 years, and this, from the reviews I've read so far, is set to become one of his finest works. Sure, the topic of a Brexit has been dealt with before, but for me, Hornby has made a better fist of things than, say, Jonathan Coe, whose 'Middle England' was nominated for the Booker Prize last year. In addition, his study of race-relations in post-Brexit Britain could not have come at a more important time, given the i ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Talk about all the stars aligning. My turn at the library for this new release from Nick Hornby just so happened to coincide with . . . .

Treat Yo Self Day. And that is exactly what this book was. A complete and utter treat.

Forty-one year old English teacher Lucy never expected to find herself single with a couple of young sons, but when her husband not only spent all of their money, but did so on drug dealers that he let into the
Anna Luce
Set against the backdrop of the 2016 referendum (Brexit) Just Like You follows two very different individuals who happen to fall in love. Recently divorced Lucy, a forty-one year old white schoolteacher, is looking to date again so she hires a babysitter for her two sons. The babysitter, Joseph, happens to be a twenty-one year old black man who works part time at a the butcher counter and aspires to be a DJ. In spite of how little in common Lucy and Joseph have, the two become romantically invol ...more
Nat K
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it

"She wanted intellectual stimulation and sexual excitement, and if she couldn't have that then she didn't need anybody." 

As it was beautifully put in the book, this story is like the movie Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. Except in this case, the female part of the couple is a forty two year old divorcée, and Mum, Lucy. And the male is half her age, twenty two year old, single Joseph. 

Amusingly, when Lucy mentions the movie to Joseph, he'd not heard of it. Nor of Sidney Poitier.

LUCY: Oh shit. This
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Does Nick Horny write the best "contemporary fiction" aka "women's fiction" aka "chick lit"? Maybe, even if this wasn't one of my favorites. It takes two people who it's hard to imagine together and plays with the idea of them trying to make it work anyway, despite racial and gender differences, Brexit and Trump landscape, different socio-economic backgrounds, oh yeah and a huge age difference. It was a bit of a slog at times but I was glad I read to the end.

I was very aware the entire time of t
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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-sitt
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a teenager, I loved Hornby's books—I liked A Long Way Down and About A Boy especially, but I've read everything he published up to Juliet, Naked, which didn't do much for me at the time, and is when I stopped keeping up with new releases. This is the first of his books that piqued my interest in over ten years, and it seemed like just the right type of light fare I was craving.

The premise is simple, typical Hornby: Boy meets girl, in 2016 London. The boy is Joseph, a 22-year old, single, blac
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Just Like You is a poignant, warm, wise and highly entertaining twenty-first-century love story 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 schoolt ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: britlit
For years, Nick Hornby was one of my favourite authors. Then, a few novels back, I stopped finding the delight and comfort I used to find in his books such as "A Long Way Down" and "About a Boy". So I approached "Just Like You" with a bit of trepidation. I'm relieved to say the author I knew and loved is back. I so enjoyed this tale of a mismatched couple (she: mid-40s, divorced, white, university educated, middle-class, anti-Brexit; he: early 20s; single, black, working-class, pro-Brexit) who f ...more
3.5 stars

This was an uncomfortable read for me, reminding me of that profoundly unsettling time after the referendum in 2016.

This takes the backdrop of the EU referendum and adds in a mixed race, different aged, different class couple to reflect on what we have in common as well as how our views, outlook and backgrounds rub along together. Like I said, it made for an uncomfortable read, feeling quite bleak at times, but at the same time it resonated with me and forced me to reflect on a few thi
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has read 'Funny Girl' more times than they can count and adored 'Juliet, Naked', I was really excited to receive the eArc for Nick Hornby's upcoming novel.

The novel starts off strong, giving the reader a clear idea of the two main characters and helping the reader grow fond of them. On the one hand, we have Lucy, a 42 white middle class woman who's head of the English department at a secondary school; she's also a single mom but that has recently come out of an abusive relationshi
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lockdown
I was captivated by the first part of Just Like You. Lucy was spunky. Joseph was handsome and thoughtful . Their burgeoning relationship felt vivid. As I continued to read, my feelings shifted. it felt as though the colour was slowly fading from the story. The tension between Joseph and Lucy just wasn’t there. I wanted to like this. I wanted to feel something powerful. Anger, disgust, giddiness, joy... Instead, I was left with a beige feeling of blah.

This might be a good book for when the world
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Joseph and Lucy meet one afternoon while Joesph is working at her local butchers. They soon develop a friendship which quickly escalates into more. So what right?Well Lucy just happens to be a good 20 years older with two children. We follow them as they try to navigate the day to day struggles of their relationship.

As far contemporary novels go, I did enjoy this. The pacing was great and easy to follow.

It was also really interesting to read about a non stereotypical romance. This focused on dif
Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
A humorous romance novel about expectations, interracial relationships, identity, and differences in the era of Brexit and Trump. Nick Hornby's latest doesn't reinvent the formula. Characters are still indecisive and over analyze how they are perceived, and the novel gets bogged down by these character traits. The story is at its best when it leans into the humor and personal connection between the two main characters. The Brexit backdrop never feels fully developed in any interesting or complex ...more
Sid Nuncius
Aug 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m afraid I didn’t think all that much of Just Like You. It’s perfectly readable but it all felt like very familiar terrain and didn’t add up to much in the end.

The story, set in 2016, is of Lucy, the white, 42-year-old Head of English at a tough North London comprehensive school and Joseph, a young black man, 20 years her junior who works in her local butcher at the weekend. They form a relationship and Nick Hornby explores the issues which arise. The trouble is, he doesn’t explore them very d
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The novel opens with Lucy, one of the protagonists, mentally going through the things that she hates in her mind. Try as she might, she cannot come up with anything that trumps waiting in a que to get into her local butcher’s shop. Waiting in the cold outside as the line slowly moves towards the entrance. To make matters worse she is stuck with, Emma, who would consider herself a friend of Lucy’s, but Lucy does not really share the same view, perhaps, acquaintance might be a better definition. E ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Having said only recently that I've only read one novel that deals with the 2016 referendum in the UK, I'm now seeing them crop up everywhere (which is perhaps not unexpected).

Just Like You is classic Hornby territory - two very different individuals somehow cross paths and their lives change forever!

Set in the weeks leading up to and then the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in 2016, we meet recently-divorced mum of two Lucy, a schoolteacher in her early forties, who is starting to feel read
That same quick, easy Hornby style that I love. But a pretty big let down. And perhaps it was because I just didn’t buy the premise or his portrayal of Lucy. My god, she was 40- not dead. And he made her so banal (“what will I look like when I am 70? Will I be too saggy?”) and basic. And the fact that he expected me to believe she would find rewarding companionship with someone who didn’t read, didn’t follow politics, cheated on her, and couldn’t come up with one thing to get her for her birthda ...more
This is a very enjoyable novel, and I don’t say that lightly. An (almost) divorced white 42-year-old mother and a 22-year-old single black man, an English teacher and an aspiring DJ, meet on opposite sides of a butcher counter in London and have an undeniable attraction. How do they get together? He becomes her babysitter!

This book illuminates how wonderful a relationship can be regardless of what people see on the outside. It is written from both of their perspectives, which makes everything so
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed some of Nick Hornby's other books, but this one was harder to connect with. The premise of an interracial May-December romance sounded intriguing. It is set against the backdrop of Brexit, recent enough to linger in our minds, yet decidedly before this disastrous present moment. It seems like madness that people would jostle each other in line at the butcher shop now. It seems strange to have discussions of race, age, and class outside of the social crisis of 2020. And that's not ...more
Stephany Pachowka
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally a love story that’s real to today’s world. A mismatched couple she’s in her 40s, divorced(well in the process of divorcing), white, college educated, upper middle class, and anti-brexit, he’s in his 20s, single, black, working class, and pro-brexit(by 2%). How can their relationship survive these major differences?

The situations and the characters of this book are so real and relatable. Hornby touches on the political and cultural divide our world is currently experiencing and asks the c
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite Hornby once being one of my favourite writers I hesitated to pick this up. I rarely read books by male writers these days and I just couldn’t see how anyone, even Hornby, could do justice to the plot, an interracial May-December romance. My fears weren’t completely unfounded, it was clunky and cringeworthy in parts and the whole thing felt somewhat implausible but it was an easy, enjoyable read full of Hornby’s keen observations on human nature.

Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a delight to read with so many likeable characters and smart, funny dialog. Set in London with the Brexit vote looming in the background, a forty-something mom and a 22-year old hipster fall in love (sort of?) and become a part of each others' lives (sort of?) in spite all of their differences. I listened to the audio of this, and recommend it highly.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Hmm where to start?? (*insert puzzled emoji right here)

Nick Hornby has been on my *to read* list for ages, so I jumped at the opportunity to read his latest: bad move! Most everything annoyed me: from the subject, to some of the characters to the dialogues(my gosh the dialogues...but we'll get to that later!)

This slim novel follows a couple for a very short period of time (around 1 year). She's a 40 something white divorcee with 2 children, head of English department at a public school. He is a
Gary Branson
Oct 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Light entertaining book, big issues without a lot of depth.
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. As a big fan of Hornby's other work (High Fidelity, About A Boy, Fever Pitch), I was very excited to receive this book to review. Unfortunately, I have been left wanting. The premise is fantastic. A recent divorcee, a young man, big age difference, she is white, he is black... it had all the makings of a current, well voiced romance.

The first half the book is pretty good, it's setting the reader up for the relationship, has all the elements that you expect (tr
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If NORMAL PEOPLE's characters were a little too caustic for you, maybe you just need Joseph and Lucy as a palate cleanser. This is a book about conversations, about relationships, about generational differences and race and class and Brexit and honesty. A May-December romance is not necessarily my thing, but this felt completely realistic. I loved listening to Lucy and Joseph's conversations, and how they were so clever and unfiltered and lacked affect with one another.

I loved that they acted t
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can be incredibly slow sometimes. When I read the blurb for this book, what I assumed I'd be getting was a treatise on age-gap relationships in the unusual setting of the woman being the older party. I skated over the race elements, and even when the opening page said '2016' I didn't think 'oooh Brexit'. Maybe it's because before Covid, Brexit was the air we breathed - it was on the news every night, but the pain of the initial impact had faded to an annoying ache.

As far as Brexit goes, it's
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more

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