Publication Date: August 30th 2022
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.
My thoughts & feelings …
Carrie Soto was first introduced to us in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2021 release, Malibu Rising. I’m going to be honest with you and say that I did not like Carrie in that novel. I thought she was stone cold and unlikeable. After reading Carrie Soto is Back I can confirm that this is exactly what she is … but that’s only one of many layers to who she is.
Carrie Soto is the epitome of what women are constantly told: that they need to be thankful and grateful for things that they’ve sacrificed and worked for tooth and nail. Being proud and aware of your own talent and worth is something to be looked down on and any of your successes should be taken as a surprise. This book really encapsulated the mysogny that existed, and still does exist, in sports and what effect that had on Carrie.
I loved the slow but steady character development of Carrie. For the most part she is at the end of the novel, exactly who she was at the beginning – proud, determined, stand-offish – and that doesn’t change. What does change, however, is her finding peace within herself and opening herstel up to the possibility of love instead of immediately running from it.
At it’s heart, I feel like this was really was a love story. A love story between Carrie and her father, Carrie and tennis, Carrie and romantic love, Carrie and herself, even.
Speaking about her father, I thought I was going to hate Javier Soto. I thought he was going to be pushy and overbearing, jsut like my dad was that one weekend when I was 12 as he tried (and failed) to teach me maths which lead to me full on sobbing. Thankfully, Javier ended up being like how my dad is every other weekend of my life. Javier was so sweet and caring. The father/daughter relationship was one of my favourite elements throughout this novel. He made a point to own up to the mistakes he made as a parent and truly tried to rectify them while also trying to coach Carrie to not only be the best tennis player, but the best version of herself.
I’ve never really been interested in tennis before. It’s the sport Serena Williams and Andy Murray play that my dad watches when there’s no football on. But after reading this book and feeling the passion from these characters, I’m genuinly interested. Sure, this new interest may only last until the high of this book has worn off, I’m going to make the most of it and watch King Richard in the next few days, the movie about the William’s sisters father and childhood.
Finally, this is a historical fiction novel but I kept forgetting that because I was so lost in what was happening that I didn’t really care about when or where it took place. It’s not until the little mentions of people listening to Walkmans and Princess Diana being at Wimdledon that I remembered this was set in the 90s. (I’m a 2002 girl so anything before the turn of the millenia counts as historical fiction to me. Sorry not sorry).
I’m not going to need Taylor Jenkins Reid to write one more “Hollywood-verse” novel set in the early 2000s just to fully wrap things up. Like we started in the 50s with Evelyn, 70s-80’s with Daisy, 90’s with Carrie, so it stands to reason we need to spend the Y2J years with maybe a realisty star reminiscent of Paris Hilton.
I fully expected to love this book, just as I loved every other TJR book I read last year. Now that I’ve completed the “Hollywood-verse” novels of TJRS recent releases, I’m so excited to work my way back to older books.