Review: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I believe it was 2018 when I caved in and read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This book already knew an immense popularity, so I was a little hesitant at first. However, I jumped on the hype train as soon as I got sucked into the book and it has been one of my favorite books ever since. In the same universe, Jenkins Reid wrote Daisy Jones & The Six (great book as well but I had to get used to the way of storytelling in this one) and Malibu Rising (honestly the book I like the least). It was in the latter one we first read about the existence of Carrie Soto. Now, she has her own novel. It took me a while to actually pick it up, but I’m so glad I finally did.

Title: Carrie Soto Is Back
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication date: August 30, 2022
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Number of pages: 384
ISBN: 9780593158685
Genre: General fiction

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.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Like all books by this author, the characters play an important role in this book. Carrie is coache by her father who has been a former tennis player and coach as well. This make them spend a lot of time together. Her dad coaches her for a very long time, from childhood till even after she’s gone pro. Their relationship is strong, but knows its ups and downs as well. Javier Soto plays two roles in Carrie’s life: of her fatter and her coach. Carrie sometimes finds it hard to see when he tells her something as her dad and when as a coach. Her determination for tennis is strong, winning is everything for her. Her record being taken away by Nikki Chan proves it all. Her attitude comes of as cold and earns her some nicknames. She addresses her comeback the same way as she did her carreer before her retirement, but due to life changing events she finally understands that there’s more outside of tennis and winning. Her character development is astonishing and great to witness.

Since this book evolves around a tennis player, there’s a lot of tennis in it. The atmosphere breathes thennis and everything that comes down with the professional sport. Training, matches, tournaments and so on. Also, some jargon is used, but I didn’t mind. It is clear the author has a lot of knowledge about the sport as rules are explained. So, if you don’t know much about tennis like me, you still can read and enjoy this book. Since it’s a very character driven book, there is not much to say about the plot. In my opinion, Jenkins Reid is very strong in writing character driven novels.

The writing is marvellous as well. Like we know of the prvious books by this author, traditional prose is alternated with other ways of storytelling. In Carrie Soto Is Back these are mainly news articles, reports et cetera. They show that Carrie’s comeback is somewhat controversial, because people are both curious and excited, as well as a little pessimistic. However, this writing style was one of the many things that made me intrigued by this book from start to finish. I just couldn’t stop listening and that was a long time ago for me. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by multiple narrators. This was a great addition to the actual story. I have to admit that I was a little bit sceptical after not really enjoying Malibu Rising, but Carrie Soto Is Back has done it again and is one of my very few 5-star reads of the year.

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