book blog · Book Review

Book Review | Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

August 30th, 2022

| Published: August 30th by Hutchinson Heinemann |
| Genre: Contemporary |
| Length: 384 Pages |
| Themes: Sports, Romance |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

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.

Once again, Reid has excelled when it comes to characterisation. She has a way of creating the most unlikeable characters, who if I only knew a little bit about them (like how we go into this book knowing Carrie slept with Nina’s husband from Malibu Rising) I would just hate them. But Reid is somehow able to flip that and make them seem more human and, by giving us background and history, makes them so much more understandable.

You’re rooting for Carrie, but not just to win that grandslam, but to change as well. You can see her flaws, you can see how, even winning this extra slam, she still isn’t going to be happy. You want her to win the game of life as much as the game of tennis.

Carrie’s main reason for wanting to reenter the sport she’s retired from is because of the rise of Nicki Chan. I thought this was brilliantly done as it heroes what Nicki Chan had done for Asian women in tennis. Celebrating other women’s achievements, rather than feeling threatened by it, is a great message.

I personally found the tennis jargon quite tiring. I am a tennis fan and I watch it avidly throughout the year, mainly to cheer on the Brits and the greats, so I did understand it easily. But there was just too much of it and it got to the point where I felt like I was reading a tennis text book more than a novel.

There is some plot besides the tennis, but it’s quite a stereotypical, tropey kind of plot that felt quite predictable. The Mum died, the Dad’s been ill, the MC has trust issues when it comes to men. I’ve just read it all before, and it was quite boring to be honest with you.

I also found the pacing was off. We get an awful lot of backstory in one go, and the real story doesn’t get going until a good 20/25% of the way through.

Because of her past books I go into Reid’s books with very high expectations, and before she’s always met them. This one just disappointed me a little unfortunately.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X


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