Cover Image: Carrie Soto Is Back

Carrie Soto Is Back

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for an advance readers copy in return for an honest review.  

MY FAVORITE BOOK SO FAR IN 2022!!!  Everything about this book kept me reading at a furious pace!  The characters, the action, the storyline and everything in between make this an excellent novel filled with heart!   At times I found myself disliking Carrie but then rooting for her a few pages later!  It was an incredible read & the father daughter storyline just tugged at my heart often.  

Description:  

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.
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4.3 ☆

This book hits you like a serve from Carrie Soto herself. Cause at the core of it all, it's all about love, which truly touches your heart. Her love for the sport, her love for her father and their bond. To truly find herself and her place in the world. And if that doesn't make you want to cry, then I don't know what else can.

Carrie's passion, her strengths and weaknesses are all presented. She's not her to be liked, but tell her side of the story, and how she grew even stronger from it all. To let go of fears and truly become what one was meant to be. Her intricate personality, as well as her complex relationship with everyone around her (especially her father) was what made me really love this book. The story seemed so real, as the characters had their flaws and details. And the ending made perfectly sense, which totally is a bonus.

Unfortunately, I fell into a reading slump after starting this book. If only I had read this at another time in my life, in a different mood, then it would have been a five-star-read to me. Maybe I'll pick it up again sometime? Either way, this book definitely deserves a chance. So if you're considering reading it, then this is your sign!

Overall, I'll say this book is so masterfully written. With different kinds of writing styles and formats to tell this story, which is the unique Reid style, I fell even more in love with all of the characters.

Over and out. -Nora<3
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Wow. Just wow. Intense, emotional, exciting—my heart was pounding half the time I was reading this book. You get SO invested in Carrie: her personal life, her career, her relationships. [SPOILER] Although she didn’t win, the ending—becoming Chan’s coach—is perfect. And Carrie made peace with herself & her desire to win. This was a fantastic book.
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I love Taylor Jenkins Reid's early work, when she seemed to be more on the quirky romance track (After I Do, Maybe in Another Life, etc.) I have been less enamored with her recent work, but hate to give up on an old favorite. This one wasn't my cup of tea, but I know many readers will love it!
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Loved the set up of the chapters in TJR latest novel. A real recap of the game of tennis. Carrie Soto is a book sure to touch the inner woman in all of us. She is driven to do it all and prove herself worthy and capable of a comeback. The reader comes to realize she also has a strong team of people that surround her and give her the encouragement she needs. In addition they do not sugar coat the situation. Hard work and dedication look different as we get older. The story is told through her eyes. Carrie is a tennis icon who tries to make a return after leaving the sport. Javier her father and coach is dedicated to helping her achieve this one last goal to reclaim her record. Her life has been tennis at much cost. She is known as the battle ax. This term only goes to prove her passion and love for the sport. While seemingly ungracious and quite tenacious she’s unwilling to give up being the best. The male vs female stereotype is addressed. Carrie isn’t afraid to show her grit thus earning her this nickname. I might mention her character is in Malibu Rising another great novel by T J R. The book flows along at a quick pace and you will learn more about tennis than you thought. Thank you #NetGalley for the ARC all opinions are my own. #CarrieSotoIsBack
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for a copy of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel, Carrie Soto is Back.

Retired tennis champion Carrie Soto decides to play another season when a younger player surpasses Carrie’s Grand Slam record. In her mid-thirties and having not played professionally in years, Carrie fears that she will not only lose her Grand Slam record, but also face ridicule for trying. Carrie must fight to get back into physical and mental shape, primarily battling her own pride. Carrie must not only be better than the other players, but exceed the player she was in her youth. The public loves a good comeback story, but Carrie was also a polarizing figure, a ruthless player dubbed “The Battle- Axe,”  who never develop a warmth within the tennis community. 

On her side, she has her father, Javier, who is both a demanding coach and loving parent. To aid in her training, Carrie practices with fellow player and former love interest, Bowe Huntly. Like Carrie, Bowe is an older tennis player who is struggling to remain on the circuit. Unlike Carrie, Bowe is a charismatic and likable player who has the love of the audience and commentators. As they improve their skills on the court, their early tension gives way to friendship and eventually romance.

I throughly enjoyed Carrie Soto is Back. I’ve read all of Reid’s recent books and this is my new favorite. Carrie Soto is a bad-ass who fights for what she wants and knows her value. She’s tough. She also very cold and private. She’s extremely guarded, making her a difficult person for many people to like. However, as this is a novel and we can dive into Carrie’s perspective, we get to see why she is so difficult. Carrie lost her mom at a young age, devastating their family and leaving Javier to focus on raising his daughter. Javier is a former tennis star and it is his great passion, one that he wanted to pass along to his daughter, who loves tennis, but also desperately wants to please her dad. As Carrie shows skill and promise towards a future in tennis, her world grows smaller, everything is about tennis and winning. Carrie does not develop normal social skills and doesn’t have a typical childhood.

Carrie’s comeback story is one of transformation. When she retires from tennis in her early thirties, she does not know who she is or how to move forward. Plunging back into tennis allows her to regain her bearings, but she also knows that it is not going to last forever, she is getting older and tennis is a young person’s sport. This last hurrah gives her time think about life beyond tennis and what that might mean for her. It’s a fantastic set up for a very satisfying character arc. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if Carrie regains her titles or fails, it only matters that Carrie can move on. I loved this story arc. The framing of the tennis matches keeps the story exciting, but the core is about personal growth. 

The connection between Javier and Carrie is beautiful and emotional. I felt this was the true heart of the story, as we get to see how Carrie’s views of her relationship with Javier change with time and perspective. She is so consumed with tennis that she does not see that her father is always proud of her. When Carrie can resolve some of the conflicts she has had with her father and her childhood, she is allowed a sense of peace. It’s lovely. 

I also liked the theme of not allowing age to stop you from chasing dreams. Both Carrie and Bowe are counted-out as potential tournament threats and they know that they might not be as quick as younger players, but they also know that they have muscle memory and skills that they can use to be competitive. The themes with Carrie and Bowe are two-fold:  don’t let age stop you, but also know that your whole life is not defined by a single accomplishment. There is so much more to every person. This really resonated with me.

Carrie Soto is Back is a fabulous read! You do not need to know much about tennis to enjoy it, as it is well explained. Also, you do not need to have read Reid’s previous books, although Carrie does make an appearance in her previous novel, Malibu Rising. Reid always drops in mentions of characters from her other works, more as an Easter egg for fans. It’s a fun touch.
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I am not dickering about 4.5 vs 5 stars.  Go read this book!

Once again, I read and wonder "Is Carrie Soto real?  Who is TJR shadowing:  Capriati, Williams?  Is Bowe John McEnroe?  Who cares - amazing character depth where I wondered if I was ever going to dislike the title character through the whole book.  It is the ego and arrogance of fame that is explored here.  It is the attitude that one always needs to prove something to someone else.  It is the parent/coach vs child relationship which are difficult to navigate on both sides.  (I wish I learned more about Javier but alas he is a background character here).  

A great step back into 80s / 90s and thanks for adding Princess Di to Wimbledon!  

This book makes me want to be a tennis fan.  

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.   This was the easiest review yet.
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Taylor Jenkins Reid has hit it out of the park again. In Carrie Soto is Back, Carrie comes out of retirement from tennis to try to get her title back. After 20 Grand Slam wins, she sees her title being stripped away by a younger competitor, Nikki Chan. At that moment, she makes the decision, at age 37, to get back her title of “Greatest Tennis Player” the world has ever seen. Her philosophy: “I have always known there is no mountain you cannot climb, one step at a time”. 
Carrie Soto is a force to reckon with. She is a dynamo on the tennis court. She is abrasive, smart, strong, dedicated, and focused. To her, failure is not an option. Her father, Javier Soto, whom she is extremely close to, is her coach. He had been a former tennis player himself and now coaches Carrie day and night. Carrie begins to train very aggressively for upcoming tournaments. This is her life. She has no time for friendships or long-term relationships with men. 
The story is told as Carrie faces each tournament- The Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. You learn about her training for each match and her strategy to overcome each individual player she is up against. 
While I have an understanding of tennis, I did acquire a great deal more knowledge of the game. 
While you want to hate Carrie for her personality flaws, you end up cheering her on in each match. The close relationship with her father is very touching throughout the story. You hope that they can both find peace in the determination to reach her goal. 
I love the references that Reid puts in connecting her other novels with this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the amount of Spanish spoken between Carrie and Javier. You can determine some of the meaning through context clues, but I would have preferred if some reference was in the appendix.
Highly recommend this book for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid.
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This read was a solid ace! Perfect speed, just enough spin to keep you anticipating and a bounce that leaves you reaching - just not quite far enough. I love tennis. I love watching the Grand Slams. I just loved this book and am consistently amazed at how Taylor Jenkins Reid crafts characters (movie stars, surfers, musicians, tennis players) in a way that the reader is consumed within the world the character lives in.

I received an advanced digital copy from NetGalley and Ballantine Books and this is my honest review
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Taylor Jenkins Reid is pretty much an auto-read author for me ever since I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which is one of my favorite books published in the last five years!! I didn't love this one as much as Evelyn Hugo or even Daisy Jones and the Six but I definitely still enjoyed it. This book gets pretty technical with tennis terminology and game strategy which is not really in my very non-athletic wheelhouse, but you don't have to be a tennis pro by any means to enjoy this book.  All of the strategy and game descriptions really just helps to immerse you into Carrie's life even further, as she truly really eats, sleeps and breathes tennis and all of the tennis talk helps pull you into her world.  While Carrie was not always fully a likable character you really do grow to admire her dedication to her sport, ambition, and love for her father Javier.  There are a few moments you want to whack her in the head with a tennis racket when it comes to her romantic pursuits, but I always think that's a sign of a good book - where the story and characters draw you in so much that you really care about what will happen next and who will make it in the end.  Jenkins Reid is great at writing strong female leads, and this book did not disappoint with any of the characters and plot points along the way!
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I enjoyed this story as a whole and was invested in Carrie’s growth throughout the book. There was a lot of tennis. Lots and lots and lots of tennis. But how the practices and matches were written flowed well and the sport became a character.
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This is not one of my favorite books by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  It felt like reading a tennis textbook. The characters were not very likeable since they were so competitive.  I know that that is part of the sport of tennis but it is also supposed to be a work of fiction. I feel there should have been more to the story than the facts of tennis.  I like learning about different things from books but I felt this had no balance to it.
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I was excited for this new Reid book. Her other ones have been excellent. This one fell short for me. I found Carrie's character annoying. She was a brat and didn't appreciate her dad or anyone around her that helped her get to where she was wanting to get to or where she ended up. Such a let down. Blah!
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This was such an empowering, immersive, well-developed joy of a book. Carrie Soto's struggles, voice, and character arc were all so relatable, well-realized, and nuanced. I loved seeing her journey back to her passion and beyond the focus on simply winning—even for a non-tennis player, this was applicable to many parts of my life. The romance was a delight, the family relationships had me crying, and I stayed up all night to finish. Another 5 stars for Taylor Jenkins Reid!
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My goodness! Carrie is so imtense and Javier is amazing. Beau is great too. TJR's characters are so freaking good. Highly recommend
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Summary:

Carrie Soto is one of those athletes that goes down in history as arguably the best woman athlete in her lifetime. She earned over 20 Grand Slams and broke countless records.

Six years after retiring, Carrie attends the 1994 US Open with her father watching her record being broken by Nicki Chan. She then informs her father and coach, Javier, that she’s coming out of retirement at age 37.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely LOVED this book!! Taylor Jenkins Reid can portray the raw and vulnerable emotions of her characters. I was so touched emotionally by this book, especially the characters and relationship between Javier and Carrie.

The format of the book gives a brief background of Carrie’s journey prior to 1994 then continues with her comeback.

I’m not a tennis fan at all, but I actually didn’t mind the game recaps throughout the book. I had read reviews previously of readers who didn’t enjoy those sections. I thought they were great and totally set the stage!

I didn’t want this book to end because I wanted to continue as a part of Carrie Soto’s journey. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a master at getting inside the mind of a woman to bring the reader into the good and bad traits.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other books.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for providing the Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Taylor Jenkins Reid CANNOT write a bad book. I said it. I know some people had issue with the Spanish dialogue, but I do not speak Spanish, so I cannot speak to that. her writing and characters are just consistently fantastic and I will always be waiting impatiently for her next book to come out. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I love Taylor Jenkins Reid books but I’m not gonna lie, when I saw tennis was the main theme for this book, I was worried because I’m not a tennis fan. I thought I wouldn’t like this book but I’m glad I didn’t let the theme stop me because I still really enjoyed it even with all the tennis talk involved. I found myself getting way more into the book than I expected. Carrie’s determination and perseverance blew me away, she’s such a strong wonderful character. Overall, this was a great book! 

Thank you Net Galley and Random House Ballantine for an ARC in return for my honest review
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Carrie Soto is Back is the fourth book in the Taylor Jenkins Reid Literary Universe and also the fourth book that I have read by the author. Carrie Soto is a minor character from Malibu Rising who comes back (lol) as the protagonist in this book. I had to really think about where Carrie came into play (lol) in Malibu Rising since she does not appear for very long. She is a professional tennis player and this book follows her comeback from retirement. I loved all of the others and was very excited to read this one!

First of all, this book is also A LOT about tennis. I know absolutely nothing about tennis (or sports in general) but that has never been a problem in any of the books that I have read about sports (like hockey in Beartown or even surfing in Malibu Rising) as most sports books focus more on the people. Carrie Soto is Back is pretty much just about tennis. TJR is such a good author that I still found myself on the edge of my seat and wanting to know what happens, but if you're super sports adverse this might not the the one for you.

Carrie is also kind of the worst. She's mean to pretty much everyone. I don't usually enjoy unlikable characters and I was worried about this one once I remembered her from Malibu Rising. She didn't end up bothering me too much and went through some nice character growth throughout the book. 

There is a lot of untranslated Spanish in this book. I took Spanish in high school/college many moons ago and was able to read most of it, but I'd imagine that if you don't read Spanish it's pretty annoying. You don't really miss out on a lot of key information but you do miss out on some character development between Carrie and her father, which was at the heart of the story. 

Now, with these negative points, you'd think that I didn't really like the book, but I did! I'm not sure what magic TJR sprinkled in the pages to make me miraculously interested in tennis but it somehow happened. I was looking up the different types of courts so I could understand the environments where Carrie would be playing. THAT is a miracle right there. While I didn't really like Carrie, I liked where her character ended up and seeing her growth through the years. 

Overall, this book is my least favorite out of the four in the TJR Literary Universe, which is not saying much because I gave the other three five stars. Carrie Soto was just a little too tennis focused for me to rank it ask high as the others. Still, it's 4.25 stars rounded down to 4 for me. Thank you to Balantine Books and NetGalley for the electronic advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
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The game is back on for renowned and retired tennis player, Carrie Soto, as she gives winning one last shot in Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. After a hiatus, Carrie realizes that a young tennis player may be vying to take her title as best female tennis player ever. She brings her former coach and dad along for the ride. Will she keep her status or only be remembered in history books or best-of lists in sports magazines and TV shows?

I love this writer’s books, so, of course, I made a beeline to get this one. If you loved the Evelyn Hugo book or Daisy Jones, you will probably love this one. Maybe you’ll think that you really don’t care for tennis or sports. Push those thoughts aside because you do not have to be a fan of either one. I cannot say that I ever cared for tennis, but this book makes it come alive.

Carrie Soto may be great, but she's also complex, challenging, and frustrating to the many people who know her in the industry and in her personal life. Tennis takes over every aspect of her life, so that she's consumed by it. And it's why she ultimately returns because she cannot bear to be second best. You as the reader are privy to her thoughts and motivations behind every step she makes. 

Since her father acts as her longtime on- and off-again coach, you're on the inside track of what makes their relationship tick. The dynamics between father and daughter are interesting as is the romance that blossoms between Carrie and an old flame. You also witness the tenuous relations between Carrie and her rivals and opponents. One in particular, a fan and up-and-coming tennis player, threatens to outplay Carrie and that relationship is explored as well.

Even though you know that Carrie's the best that ever was, you really never know if she'll win again. Every game is taut with suspense. Every shot she serves or returns may or may not go her way, and that's why you'll stay engaged with the book. I kept thinking, how could a game by an unstoppable player like Carrie be that suspenseful and exciting. But all the way to the end of the book, you're on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, and wondering if she'll continue her incredible winning streak. In fact, I teared up towards the end of the book during one of her games, and that's rare for me at all. 

And is there a possibility of a sequel? Read the book, and see what you think.

I don't know how Taylor did this because I read that she's not a tennis player, but she depicted these games so well. And each game reads in such a way that you seriously will not know the outcome even when it's a flashback. That in itself takes incredible skill as a writer. I love that she brought this multifaceted character to life and how likeable she is despite her flaws. I also am happy that she branched out into these books that go beyond your typical women's fiction. She has truly evolved as a writer, and I just cannot wait to see what she writes next.
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