Cover Image: Carrie Soto Is Back

Carrie Soto Is Back

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Taylor Jenkins Reid returns to writing with this novel. As someone who really enjoys her other book, I was hoping to love this one too. However I feel that it falls a bit flat. While I feel the concept is good and very interesting, it feels like we lose some plot for style. The author’s books always have a certain style that makes me either have difficulty reading or allow me to fly through. Carrie is complex but shows a bit of a stereotype of a woman of color. People have complained about that before however something about this book amplifies that. All around I do believe fans of this author will enjoy the book if they can push past some of the problems.
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The first Taylor Jenkins Reid book I read was last year’s Malibu Rising. Overall, it was an entertaining book and I did appreciate what TJR was trying to accomplish with it, but unfortunately, I couldn’t stand most of the characters (it wouldn’t be a stretch to say I hated most of them), plus “the party” storyline (which I felt was written too OTT for my tastes) nearly derailed the entire story for me.  Not surprisingly, given this experience, I was definitely more than a little wary going into TJR’s latest work, Carrie Soto is Back. We were first introduced to Carrie in Malibu Rising and while she was only in a few scenes in that book, her brash behavior and outsized attitude were enough to make her stand out (not necessarily in a good way, in my opinion).  I certainly didn’t have the best impression of Carrie after that book, and for the first half of this one, I actually liked her even less (if that’s even possible).  To me, Carrie was the epitome of the type of entitled, arrogant, self-absorbed character that never ceases to frustrate me — and yes, there were quite a few scenes where she was downright mean (and that’s putting it nicely). To be honest, throughout most of the first half, there were so many moments when I was tempted to just throw in the towel and call it a day (it also didn’t help that I’m not into sports at all, so all the tennis lingo and references went completely over my head) — what kept me going though was the writing, which flowed beautifully into a well-crafted, emotional story (with a satisfying ending).

I definitely was able to connect more with this story than TJR’s previous one (even though I know absolutely nothing about tennis or the elite world of professional sports). I think the reason for that is because, in this case, there wasn’t a huge, revolving door of annoying characters that detracted from the main story.  Instead, we actually get to see Carrie grow and evolve in different areas — from her oftentimes fraught relationship with her father/coach, to her romance with Bowe Huntley, to her business relationship with her agent Gwen, and most importantly, her attitude toward her sport as a whole as well as her fellow competitors.  These are the types of stories I enjoy the most:  where the characters are well-developed, often flawed and far from perfect, even largely unlikable throughout most of the story, but they grow in subtle ways that are most meaningful when we as readers get to journey with them from the beginning of the story to the end.  

This book made me excited to read TJR again, and while I look forward to her next book, I should probably also get cracking on her backlist works as well (almost all of which have been on my TBR for while already).  Hopefully I’ll be able to get to at least one of her other books before the next new one comes out!

Received ARC from Ballantine Books via NetGalley.
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Another good read featuring someone we caught a glimpse of in Malibu Rising.   Carrie Soto is a retired tennis star.  Her whole being was based on being the greatest women's tennis player.  When her record is grand slams wins record is tied, she comes out of retirement to try to maintain her record.  Carrie is the daughter of a Argentina tennis great and her mother died in an accident when Carrie was very young.  Tennis became her life.  It was her connection to her father.  I liked how the book started us in the present, when her record was tied and then takes us back to the beginning.  Carrie grows up solely focused on tennis and not good at forming relationships.  Her return to tennis at 37 years of age, helps her grow both professionally and personally.  I liked how Bowe saw her and had "seen" her for a lot of years.  Carrie had to learn to let go of being the greatest in order to find fulfillment in her life.  4 1/2 stars.
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Maybe it's because I'm not a big sports fan, but I just did not connect with this one as much as I was expecting to. Carrie is a pretty unlikable character and even though she was slightly redeemed at the end, I spent far too long hating her and being annoyed by her behavior. 3.5 stars.
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Taylor Jenkins Reid has done it again! I was a little cautious going into this one because I am not a huge tennis fan, or really a fan at all, but that did not matter. As always Taylor Jenkins Reid has the best story telling and crafts beautiful stories!
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If you had told me before I read this book that a fiction book about tennis that includes strategy, shot location and lots and lots of scores could keep my attention and that I would enjoy it, I would have told you that you were nuts. HOWEVER, Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote a book that did just that. I was totally hooked from the first, when Carrie's father was teaching his little daughter to play. The story progresses as she ages and develops quite the attitude to go with her rising stardom. It goes to her retirement and then her return to try to keep one of her records from being broken.

It was very sad in a way, because she had no friends. She had no time for them and truly did not want any. The fact that she didn't want them and didn't miss having friends was hard to deal with. She turns into "The Battle Axe" and she's perfectly fine with that. When she plots her return, however, a male player who is also a "has been" and wants a comeback of his own soon becomes the closest thing she has to a friend. The question is, when their tennis careers are over what will they have left and will it be enough?

Thanks to Random House/Ballantine and NetGalley for the gifted book. All thoughts are my own.
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I went into this book with hesitations. I started my Taylor Jenkins Reid journey with Daisy Jones, which was fantastic and I loved the format. Then I read Malibu Rising, which was certainly not my favorite. I didn't mind Evelyn Hugo, but I was worried the hype for all of TJR's books might have had her churn out a book that just didn't land with me. That was not the case at all with Carrie Soto is Back. Having already been introduced to Carrie as "the other woman" in Malibu Rising, I had a chip on my shoulder. I felt like I wasn't going to like her going into the book. I could not be more wrong.

Carrie Soto is the greatest tennis player of all time, but her grand slam title holding record just got smashed when she's in retirement. What does one do other than come out of retirement and try and take back what you have earned so many years ago? As someone who enjoys watching tennis recreationally, I absolutely devoured this book. I could see how someone with very little to no knowledge might have a hard time reading some  of the book, but I feel that TJR explains just enough that anyone can read the book and understand the basics of tennis. I felt the anticipation of each match, felt the electricity that Carrie played with, felt the absolute love and respect Carrie has for her father and coach. My heart broke several times for Carrie but it was definitely singing by the end of it.  The book was truly a magnificent story of hard work and triumph and I am still rooting for Carrie even after finishing the book. 

I laughed, I certainly cried, and I could not get enough of Carrie Soto and will be looking forward to future TJR strong female leads. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing an electronic advanced reader copy. This review is all my own opinions.
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Taylor Jenkins Reid is on fire with her last few books and Carrie Soto is Back is no exception! Carrie Soto is thirty seven years old and retired from tennis in the late 80s. But as she watches the newest tennis phenom approach breaking records she set Carrie decides to come out of retirement. Set in 1995 and firmly in the tennis world, the reader follows Carrie as she learns if she can take on the younger set. 

Carrie Soto will not be the most likable character for most people. She's brash and often mean to others. I loved her dad, Javier, and his coaching of her throughout the book. Jenkins does a great job of having Carrie grow as a player and a person. Carrie goes from alienating everyone around her, being called the Battle Axe, to learning how to give and take in life and on the court. 

I know very little about tennis, but this was still a very enjoyable book that I had trouble putting down. I was concerned I would get bored with the descriptions of the tennis matches, but they kept me engaged and wanting to know what would happen. This is a great end of summer read as the end of tennis season arrives. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Carrie Soto Is Back and she is on a mission.  Retired tennis great, Carrie Soto, is close to losing her record of most Grand Slam wins. What does she do? Comes back for a chance of taking her title back.  

Taylor Jenkins Reid has a way of writing a fictional character that you need to google just to make sure they aren't actually a real person.  While Carrie Soto isn't the most likable character  (which I think is the point),  you can't help but root for her.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel but I did feel something missing. A huge focus on the ins and outs of tennis, it left little for a  dimensional character arc for Carrie to round out her story. TJR is a master story-teller though and you won't want to put the book down.  

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read and review honestly an advanced digital copy.
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3.5 stars. 

I’m going to start by saying that I am not a tennis player. The first half of this book was very informative in teaching the reader the rules of tennis and interspersing Carries back story and dropping the usual TJR nods to her other books, i.e.  Carrie is reading Daisy Jones and The Six, she glosses over her relationship with Brandon, (Nina Riva’s husband in Malibu Rising), etc. 

Anyway, I was a little bored with the first half. There’s only so many times I can read about people nicknaming her “The Bitch” and having her be completely devoid of any sort of feeling toward anyone or anything, her father not withstanding. I understand that it was meant to set up her unyielding, cold personality but honestly it got repetitive and that on top of the fact that I find tennis to be an insanely boring sport just made that first half a little bit of rough going, which is not my normal experience with TJR’s novels. 

The second half however, was so much more involved. We got to know and love Gwen, Carrie’s agent. Ali, too! Bowe becoming not only a real love but an absolute rock to Carrie and her father, and we watched his relationship with both grow and become something truly amazing through her tragedy and upset. This second half felt like a different book to me, and I much preferred it to the odd, cold set up of the first. 

I am happy to have read this and understand Carrie better (been annoyed with her since I read Malibu Rising so she redeemed herself for sure), but she is not my favorite of TJR’s heroines. 

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review, I am so grateful for the opportunity.
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Thank you to Random House Ballantine and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy. Thank you to Libro.fm for an advanced listener copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Carrie Soto was once the greatest women’s tennis player. Now, it’s has been six years since she retired. Carrie decides to return to training with her father, Javier, (once again) and return to competition. Can she compete with the younger players?

Like I am sure you have read in other reviews, there is a lot of tennis in this story. And, if you are like me and you have no idea how points are scored, matches are won or what “love” means, parts of this may be confusing or boring. I’ve been told what that all means and Carrie tells the reader, too, and I still have a difficult time remembering.

Plus, Carrie is not very likable. She has the nickname as the “Battle Ax” or “The Bitch” and for good reason. She is very determined and competitive and is not there to make friends with the other players. She doesn’t like that the younger players are faster then her and are breaking her records.

I did love, overall, her relationship with her father. She did treat him terribly a few times when she didn’t like the answer he was giving her. It wasn’t the truth she wanted to hear from him. Though, this book is very heavily based on Carrie’s tennis matches during her comeback, I did like that towards the end she was able to have a life and love beyond tennis. I loved Bowe!

I listened to this audiobook. I think it was narrated very well by Stacy Gonzalez. There is a full cast credited, but they were only in news/sports shows and articles in between some of the chapters. (Not enough of Julia Whelan!) I don’t think I would I have liked this story as much if I hadn’t listened to it. It was wonderful and definitely kept my interest. I’m a big TJR fan and, like many, will wait for her next novel!
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Carrie Soto is Back 

Aᴜᴛʜᴏʀ- Tᴀʏʟᴏʀ Jᴇɴᴋɪɴs Rᴇɪᴅ
Gᴇɴʀᴇ- ʟɪᴛᴇʀᴀʀʏ ꜰɪᴄᴛɪᴏɴ
Rᴀᴛɪɴɢ- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

You guys. This book was pure gold. The story, the narration, the structure- all perfection. The tennis announcers and match coverage in the book made me feel like I was truly there at Carrie’s matches. It was SO fun! Hands down one of my favorites this year. 

Carrie Soto returns with a vengeance, and it was so refreshing to read about a tough and strong women who isn’t a *darling*. There is a depth to Carrie and this story, that is unmatched in any other TJR book that I’ve read. Do not miss out on this one!! 💛

— — — — —

Synopsis - 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.  

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. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for access this ARC!
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Rating: 4/5

Let's get something clear, I'm a TJR stan, literally, I have an After I Do inspired tattoo. I am always so thrilled when she releases a new book and I about screamed when I got the physical ARC in the mail. 

Carrie Soto Is Back was an immersive experience. Throughout this book, I literally had to remind myself she wasn't real. I loved the theme of a badass female athlete, TJR always hones into the power of women and highlights them in all stages of life. I loved the relationship between Carrie and her father, Javier. 

Unfortunately, while I can acknowledge this was a really solid novel, it did fall short for me. It pains me to say this. There was So. Much. Tennis. If you have no interest in tennis, this isn't the book for you. The character development really didn't come until the end of the book. There was a missed opportunity to highlight a Hispanic character with more than just some dialogue in Spanish. And I also feel like we missed the classic TJR "moral of the story aka the big lesson about life". 

So, am I happy I read this? Yes! Is this my new go-to TJR recommendation? Not really.
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Carrie Soto was the G.O.A.T. in women's tennis for a long time, until a new player beat her record for winning major tournaments. Carrie wants to come back for just long enough to regain her place at the top of the rankings. Her father Javier, her coach for many years until she found a new coach who wanted to win just as much as she did, is along for her comeback, agreeing to coach Carrie's playing partner and sometime boyfriend Bode. As Carrie works toward her goal, she learns more things than just how hard it is to bring a near-40 year old body to elite athletic performance.

I think Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fantastic writer and I wanted to love this one as much as I loved Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo. But there was too much about tennis matches and I found myself skimming those parts. I also thought the story was a little predictable. But hardcore TJR fans will love it.
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I absolutely loved this! It started a bit slow for me, but once it picked up I was hooked. I loved Carrie’s growth and redemption arc and how she stayed true to herself throughout the book. The father-daughter relationship like this  is something I haven’t seen in a lot of books and I really enjoyed it. As someone who somewhat follows tennis, it was cool to follow alongside Carrie as she makes history!
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4.5/5

If you ever told me I’d read an entire book based on tennis pre-Carrie Soto, I would’ve laughed. TJR somehow made a sport I have absolutely no interest in, so freaking fascinating.

I LOVED Carrie and I loved all of the supporting characters. I also really enjoyed the balance of romance, individual character development, and focus on family in this book.

A warning though, every match is described in GREAT detail, so if you find yourself uninterested the first time a match happens, the rest of the book will probably fall flat for you. Nevertheless, I find tennis so boring but absolutely loved this book. So! Miracles do happen.
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I’m a big fan of Taylor Jenkins Read! This one only disappoints if you tire easily of reading about competition and tennis. I didn’t know much about tennis, going into this, but know more now. Despite all the tennis, I enjoyed getting to know Carrie Soto and felt myself cheering her on.
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Taylors best book yet.  I'ts been great to see her progression as a writer.  This book is almost perfect!
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TJR is back too!! I am so excited to have had the chance to read this story. Taylor is my favorite author and almost everything I’ve read has blown me away. When I first read about this book, I wasn't sure if I would end up loving it. I knew I loved Taylor's writing, but I'm not into tennis or really sports in general, so having that as the background subject of a story often doesn't keep me as engaged.. Still, the character of Carrie and her through line had me intrigued, so I requested this arc. Boy am I glad I did! Taylor as usual did not disappoint! The first chapter started strong and I was hooked right away. I also feel like I learned a lot about the world of tennis and I love leaving a book not just having the escape of a great story but also carrying new knowledge with me from it. I enjoyed Carrie’s story and connected a lot to her character. I think she wouldn't seem like the most relatable character on the surface, but for me she really was because of her flaws not despite them. I loved her relationships with her father and with Bowe. I also really enjoyed her bond with Nicky and how it ended. What I love about Taylor is that she didn’t just give us the easy winning ending, but she gave the right ending. So many beautiful lessons were woven into this and I found myself writing all the quotes down that I could. The one piece I felt I was missing was actually in the acknowledgments. It may be in the published copy but I wanted to know what inspired her to want to write with a tennis story line. Does she play it or watch it? If not, what drove her to write the story? Overall though, I highly recommend this book and think other TJR fans will be thrilled with her newest story as well!
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First of all, I want to thank Penguin Random House for giving me access to this MOST anticipated novel.
Taylor Jenkins Reid writes the most incredible, adrenaline pumping, can't put this down until I read it novels ever.  Carrie Soto is Back is definitely one of those novels.
Malibu Rising is one of my favorite books ever, so I have to admit I was very prejudiced against Carrie from the get-go.  Her tough as nails, never give up attitude is very admirable, and telling her side of the story definitely gave her redemption.
A must buy for every librarian!!!  And a must buy for EVERY person! A++++
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