Carrie Soto will not let her blood, sweat, and tears of decades go to waste. When her tennis record of the most number of Grand Slam titles is about to be broken by Nicki Chan, Carrie decides to hit a pause on her retirement and get back in the game for one last time.
This was my second Taylor Jenkins Reid book, and I am beginning to see why her stories are so popular.
The writing in this novel is heavy with tennis lingo and details. From match sequences to Carrie’s training with her dad, there’s a lot about tennis that you get to know by reading Carrie Soto is Back.
Initially, I wasn’t a fan of this. But as Carrie’s journey unfolds across chapters, I became more invested in knowing more about her. Her characterisation is what held my attention.
She is relentless in her pursuit of success, doesn’t bother to please people, and can be quite heartless at times. It’s not often that you see such ruthless protagonists at the helm of a contemporary novel, and I really liked that aspect of the novel.
The narrative follows a non-linear structure. It starts with the present and, with each alternative chapter, explores Carrie’s growth as a tennis player right from her tweens.
With a sports-themed story, the vibe can be extremely competitive, and I wanted to see if the author doubles down on the rivalry between women athletes for the sake of tension.
While it is in Carrie’s nature to consider herself far superior, I was pleased to see the healthy competition between her and Nicki by the end. The way their interactions have been crafted left a far better impression on my mind than I’d thought.
The role Javier Soto, her father, plays in her life is one of the most heartwarming things about the book. He is incredibly supportive and forgiving, even when she is cruel and abandons him. I am keen to see more such parent figures in books.
I think the ending couldn’t have been more perfect. Carrie has come such a long way by that last match that it completely unpacks her misbelief and helps her embrace a sense of peace that had been lacking in her life for decades.
On the whole, I liked reading Carrie Soto is Back (not more than Malibu Rising, though!). But I prefer watching television series about athletes (such as Twenty-Five Twenty-One) rather than reading books about them.
That said, I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing style, so I will most certainly be picking up more of her works.
Note – I received an ALC of this book from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.