Book Review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Posted August 22, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 36 Comments

Carrie Soto Is Back
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date August 30, 2022
Published by Random House Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Sagas, Fiction / Women
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

“An epic adventure about a female athlete perhaps past her prime, brought back to the tennis court for one last grand slam” (Elle), from the New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones & The Six, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“Gorgeous. The kind of sharp, smart, potent book you have to set aside every few pages just to catch your breath. I’ll take a piece of Carrie Soto forward with me in life and be a little better for it.”—Emily Henry, author of Book Lovers and Beach Read

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.

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a book about the world of tennis, but more than that, it’s a character study on what it takes to be at the top of your sport.  I don’t know much about the sport of tennis, and I’m not much of a sports person, but I still loved this book.  

Carrie Soto is retired now from professional tennis, but someone is about to take her title for winning the most grand slams, and she’s not about to let that happen.  It doesn’t matter that she’s 37 years old now, ancient for a professional tennis player, or that it’s been several years since she played professionally.  She doesn’t need the money, but that title is hers.  

Carrie Soto was single-minded in her pursuit of winning all the tennis titles.  With her father, Javier as her coach, there was nothing and no one who she would let get in her way of winning.  She finally achieved everything she set out to do in the world of tennis and that’s when she decided to retire.  But a hot new player, Nikki Chan is just about to pass her in the number of tennis titles, and that has Carrie Soto back on the court, training harder than she ever had before to take those titles back.  Can she do it? What cost to Carrie? 

I’ll admit, I wasn’t excited about a book about tennis, I don’t know much about the sport, but this is by one of my favorite authors, so I decided to give it a try, and I’m so very glad I did!  Sure, there is a lot about tennis, but it’s mostly a character-driven novel and Carrie Soto is a fascinating character.  So is her father, Javier.  

Carrie Soto is back is a bit like one of those sports comeback movies where you have the washed-up baseball player (football, hockey, boxer, etc) and they work hard and make a comeback.  But, Carrie Soto is so much more than that, it’s more about her journey to finding out what can make her happy, and how she grows into so much more than just a tennis player.  As well as Carrie, I found her father, Javier a very interesting character, as her father and coach, I enjoyed their relationship and their love for each other.  

Now for the tennis.  I said before, I’m not much of a fan of professional tennis and I don’t know much about the sport, but somehow, the author has made me a fan.  I was on the edge of my seat at every tournament, wondering how Carrie will play, and of course, I was rooting her on at every turn.  I didn’t need to know much about tennis to read this book or get into the nuances of the sport as the author does a phenomenal job of making the sport easy for me to understand and compelling enough to make me love the sport.  

I also enjoyed the little appearances by other characters from the author’s earlier books. It just makes Taylor Jenkins Reid’s world so much more realistic.  And as I’m close to Carrie Soto’s age, I enjoyed a lot of the little bits of culture from the different era’s in the book. 

I highly recommend Carrie Soto is Back to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid photo
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her novels have been Indie Next Picks, chosen by Book of the Month, and featured in People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. Her newest novel, Daisy Jones and the Six, is a New York Times bestseller. She lives in Los Angeles.

UK Cover:

I think the US cover is more eye-catching, but I think this UK cover is prettier.

Have you read Carrie Soto is Back? Is it a book you would want to read?

36 responses to “Book Review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  1. So excited to see you give this 5 stars! I just love the connections from Evelyn Hugo to Malibu Rising to Carrie Soto. Genius how she weaves those threads throughout these three books. I have this on hold at the library and can’t wait to dive in!

  2. So happy we both enjoyed this one! I was also impressed with TJR’s ability to make tennis understandable for those of us who are clueless about it. I didn’t want to put this one down! Great review!

  3. This is an author I’ve really been wanting to read and this one sounds interesting. I know an decent amount about tennis and I can’t imagine anyone staging a comeback at 37! I’m adding this one to my TBR.

  4. I’ve ordered a signed copy of this as a Christmas present. I haven’t read any of TJR’s previous books and thought that it was time that I did! I will try to read one of them before Christmas – I have my eye on The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I am not a fan of Tennis, but I thought that it sounded really interesting.

    I enjoyed reading your review.

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

  5. Hi Wendy!

    It’s already on my TBR and yes, I will definitely read it as well! Your review was excellent and I hope that I can get to it soon. I used to play Tennis for many years, so I think I will enjoy it. I remember the high days of Stefi Graff and Monica Selles – this book reminds me of that.

    Hope your week has been good so far.

    Elza Reads

  6. Excellent review Wendy. This does sound so very good. Once upon a time I did follow tennis tournaments and as a child has started to learn a little for fun though, but it never got to much. The book though I’m certainly going to be keeping an eye out for.

  7. Jenny+McClinton

    I’m not really into sports either so that would have put me off, so good to see your review 😊

  8. I’m not into sports or celebrities, but I’ll admit that I would probably find this interesting because of the athlete challenging herself after her body is past its prime.

    • It’s very good. I love TJR, and didn’t think I would enjoy it as I’m not a fan of tennis. But the characters are so good.

  9. i’m glad you enjoyed this one wendy! i’ve heard nothing but amazing things about carrie soto – i can’t wait to read it myself. as with you, i’m not much of a tennis fan, but i’m hoping to learn a few things with this book.

    as always, lovely review!

    • I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I can’t believe I liked it as much as I did because I’m not much of a tennis person