Review By Veronica

Carrie Soto is Back is a riveting and emotional story that you will not be able to forget.

Favourite Quote:

My entire childhood was drills. Drill after drill after drill. Serves, groundstrokes, footwork, volleys. Serves, groundstrokes, footwork, volleys. Again and again. All summer long, after school, every weekend. My dad and I. Always together. Our little team of two. Proud coach and star student.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.

I must confess this isn’t a book I would typically pick up. I’m not a huge tennis fan, and I have not read any of Taylor’s previous books. But when I discovered this book was going to be the heyitscarlyrae’s November book club pick, I thought, why not give it a try? All I have to say is that I am glad that I did. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this book, and I could not put it down. 

If you aren’t a fan of sports or tennis and that is the reason why you aren’t reading this book, I recommend still giving it a try. As I said early, I HATE tennis. I can’t watch that sport. That is why I was so shocked at how much I was on the edge of my seat during Carrie’s tennis matches. I felt like I was there. Taylor is a master at building up suspense that had my heart pounding. She also explained the world of tennis, whether it be its rules, how the tournaments run, or what it’s like to be a tennis player, in a way that I didn’t feel like I was being lectured or inundated with too much information. All the tennis aspects just blended beautifully with the overall story. 

Fans of Taylor’s previous books will be happy to hear that she puts in some easter eggs connected to her previous books, Daisy Jones and the Six and Mailbu. I loved all the 90’s pop culture references; they filled me with this nostalgia. Taylor’s writing and storytelling abilities blew me away. She knows how to capture her reader’s emotions. I felt excited, happy, angry, and heartbroken while reading this book. This story will capture your attention, and not let it go until the end. I have mixed feelings about the ending. I liked it and understood why it ended the way it did, but part of me wished it had ended differently. Sorry, I know it’s a bit vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Ultimately, this book provokes a discussion among readers, whether it be about Carrie’s character, the ending, or the world of competitive sports. 

Carrie is a complex and very raw character. People are either going to love or hate her. Carrie’s personality is abrupt, brash, and very prickly. I admit I didn’t like Carrie at the beginning of the book. She makes some very questionable and cold decisions during her tennis career, and her callous single-minded attitude makes it really tough to like her. I hoped she would have major personal growth as the story progressed. And I’m happy to say she does. It’s a long bumpy journey, and I found that not only did she grow as a person, but so did my understanding of her. I started to look at her differently and realized that she was a product of her upbringing. She grew up in an environment solely focused on tennis and being great at that sport. That molded her adult personality, and maybe not for the better. It’s something her father realized later in the book and something he tried to address with her. Carrie is prickly and abrupt, but she also has a kind heart. She just doesn’t let it show too often. 

Carrie Soto is Back is an unputdownable, captivating book that is a must for any bookworm’s collection.