I finished Juliet, Naked last night, and at the time I was really disappointed. Now that I've had some time to let the last chapter sink into my brain, it's not as bad as I had originally thought. It's no About A Boy, but it's a good read and the emotionally stunted main characters and music themes are signature Hornby.
The plot is a little convoluted, but essentially it's about three people who, through a series of ridiculous yet not totally unbelievable circumstances, realize they have sleepwalked through the last 15+ years of their lives. The main characters are: Tucker Crowe, a singer-songwriter from the early '80s with only one notable record to his name (Juliet) who hasn't been seen or heard from since halfway through the Juliet tour. Duncan is one of only a dozen or so people left in the world who not only has heard of Tucker Crowe, but actually considers him a musical genius. And Annie, Duncan's long suffering girlfriend. And by "long suffering" I mean that they've been dating for 15 years and have very little in common aside from hating the small seaside town in which they live.
One day Duncan recieves a copy of the first new Tucker Crowe album in 20+ years, a demo version of Juliet dubbed "Juliet, Naked." He listens to it and writes an embarassingly glowing review on his TC fansite basically saying that Naked is like the greatest thing ever and definitely better than the original Juliet. Annie listens to it (actually, she listens to it first, which pisses Duncan off royally) and writes her own review basically saying that the accoustic demos are nice and all, but the original Juliet is superior because the finished, polished product is always better than the rough draft. Tucker Crowe sends Annie an email thanking her for being the only reasonable person on the fansite (apparently he reads his own fansite. I totally would, too). Hijinks ensue.
One of my first complaints was the fact that Tucker's 6 year old son Jackson's dialog doesn't really read like an American 6yo speaking. I can't put my finger on which part is off, the American part or the 6yo part, but it's definitely not quite right. My other complaints are actually about the very last events in the book, and therefor obvious spoilers, so I'll just stop now.
Juliet, Naked was a decent read from a great contemporary author. I recommend it, but not too strongly. Solid B.
Next up: Under The Dome by Stephen King. I'm about 60 pages in and there's already been a lot of blood and gore and explosions. Basically, so far so good. :)