Thursday, August 25, 2022

Book Review: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine
Pub. Date: August 30, 2022
Other Books By Author: Malibu Rising,
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "In this powerful novel about the cost of greatness, a legendary athlete attempts a comeback when the world considers her past her prime—from the New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising. Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two. But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan. At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever. In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet."

Readers of Malibu Rising may remember Carrie Soto, an accomplished tennis player.  This book dives into her life and her tennis career.  It starts with Carrie as a child, living with her father, Javier, who also lives and breathes tennis. He used to have a successful tennis career, but is now coaching and instructing at clubs.  He has big plans for Carrie and even as a child, she is determined to be the best. As the years go by, she finds much success (thanks to her commitment and determination) and Carrie and her father have always made the greatest team. Fast forward many years later, Carrie is a retired tennis player and holds the record for winning the most Grand Slams. But then comes along a much younger Nicki Chan who might very well break her record. Carrie decides to come out of retirement to defend her record, along with her father as her coach.  Carrie has always been a fierce competitor, not to mention her difficult personality, so will people root for her comeback? And quite simply, at thirty-seven, can Carrie even do it?   Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a phenomenal sports book, but even readers who don't enjoy tennis will be sucked in by this unputdownable novel.

I really liked Carrie Soto in  Carrie Soto Is Back. I know she can be brash, difficult, a sore loser, and brutally honest, but I liked that about her. I enjoyed her determination and resilience. Reid created such an interesting character and one that felt so real that I found myself trying to google Carrie. She has to be real, right? Maybe not, but Reid really brings it when it comes to character development.  Carrie practically leaped off the page.  As the years go by, she reconnects with fellow tennis player Bowe and I really enjoyed their relationship and watching it progress, especially as they started training together. Lastly, Carrie's relationship with her dad was a memorable one and truly tugged on my heartstrings.  I adored his coaching and his perspective on things.

Reid must have done a ton of research regarding tennis or she must be an avid tennis player herself, because I felt like I was watching a tennis match when I was reading Carrie Soto Is Back. It was so real, so immersive, that it made me want to dust off my old racket and get back out there. It's never too late, right? I don't know how she does it, but Reid took a sports book and made it so much more.  So, you don't need to enjoy tennis or be a sports fan to appreciate Carrie's journey. 

Carrie Soto Is Back is one of my favorite books of the summer, as well as the year. At this point, I'll read anything Reid writes; she is one of the best writers of our time.  So, are you a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid? Do you plan on reading Carrie Soto Is Back? Are you a tennis fan? Let me know in the comments below.

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