2022 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Carrie Soto Is Back

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: August 30th 2022

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 384

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 5 stars

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular.

By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach.

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, British 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 a story about the cost of greatness and a legendary athlete attempting a comeback.

Review:

“And show them that the Bitch, the Battle Axe-whatever they want to call you-it doesn’t matter. They can’t stop you. And they don’t get to decide what your name is. Carrie Soto is back.”

Eight novels in and New York Times bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid just keeps getting better. Carrie Soto Is Back is Los Angeles based writer Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest triumph. A golden, shimmering and scintillating novel that charts the rise, fall and rebirth of a tennis champion, Carrie Soto Is Back is a world class read.

Introducing one of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s most memorable female stars, Carrie Soto is a force to be reckoned with. Bold, determined, but also unpopular, Carrie Soto has her sights firmly set on becoming the world’s greatest tennis player ever. With a trail of titles, championships and records, Carrie has achieved almost everything she dreamed of… almost. Carrie and her father, who is also her coach, are in retirement mode when Carrie decides that she must take on a new world record to preserve her status as the greatest player ever. With the backing of her beloved father and coach, Carrie begins the gruelling process of retraining her body again. The media and tennis community are against Carrie, except one player who also has a score to settle. Will Carrie rise to the top or will it be an embarrassing comeback for this former world champ?

Wow, Taylor Jenkins’s Reid has managed to knock my socks off yet again with her latest novel. I honestly didn’t expect this one to reach the same heights (almost) as my favourite TJR novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’m a self-confessed non tennis fan, I detest the sport with a passion, so I expected to really struggle with this one. Non tennis fans, I can assure you Carrie Soto Is Back is well worth your time. You definitely don’t have to be a tennis fan to appreciate this one. Tennis is the overarching theme, or the lifeblood that pumps through the veins of this novel, but it is executed beautifully by Reid. There is so much more to tennis than simply a racket, a ball and a net. Reid takes us deeper and further into the game, revealing the gruelling training regimes, self-sacrifice, media spotlight, sexism, racism, power struggles and intense public scrutiny placed on the players. Interwoven in Reid’s narrative are powerful supplementary newspaper articles and sport reports. This added an extra layer to Carrie’s intriguing life story.

As we have come to expect from Taylor Jenkins Reid if you are a fan of her novels, the lead is wonderfully drawn. The most touching part of Carrie Soto is the unconditional relationship that she holds with her father. Reid does a truly excellent job of portraying a realistic, respectful and loving father /daughter relationship. We feel as though we are Carrie’s personal agent or training partner as we observe her triumphs and tragedies. The reader also feels as though they are on the court with Carrie when the sporting action takes place, which is relayed in a blow-by-blow account by Reid. Displaying her clear knowledge and understanding of the game, as well as the human side of being a highly ranked sports star, I was mesmerised by this new TJR tale. The support cast are lifelike and highly engaging. I loved her father, her enemies and love interest, each was carefully drawn by Reid. I love that this was the ultimate comeback story and the overall message about believing in yourself despite adverse conditions is what empowered me to race through the pages of Carrie Soto Is Back. A final nod of appreciation goes to Reid for subtly integrating her previous books into Carrie Soto Is Back, with a nod to the Rivas in Malibu Rising and Daisy Jones and the Six. Brilliant execution TJR!

To all the non-tennis lovers out there, take a chance on Carrie Soto Is Back, it is a truly resplendent read!

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid was published on 30th August 2022 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid, visit here.

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