Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 20. Related to the word “gold”

Other Possible Prompts: 12. Set on at least two continents, 23. Author with an X, Y, or Z in their name, 33. A bilingual character, 41. Involves a second chance, 50. A person of color as the main character, 52. Published in 2022

This book was simply stunning. I am on a wildly good streak of books as of late, this one no exception. Carrie Soto is Back is somehow even better than I expected it to be, as Taylor Jenkins Reid has a habit of doing to me!

Six years ago, Carrie Soto retired from professional tennis the world record holder for most slam wins, among other things. Obsessed with tennis since childhood, she made a career out of her incredible tennis ability and need to win. Now, as she sits in the stands in 1994, she watches her world record for wins get broken by Nicki Chan, and makes the decision to come out of retirement and get her record back. This is Carrie’s journey back into tennis, and to finding herself.

I don’t even like tennis, but I couldn’t put this down. How does Reid do that?! I don’t like band books, either, but Daisy Jones & The Six was easily the best book I read last year. Carrie Soto will definitely be in my top three this year. While tennis plays a big part in Carrie Soto, Reid finds a way to keep it completely captivating – and there’s a lot more to it than just the games. This is about Carrie’s identity, who she is with and without tennis, and what the definition of success really is.

I think a lot of type A ladies are going to see themselves in Carrie. I certainly did. I loved her ruthlessness and need to win, but also her drive and her innate sense of direction. Sometimes it’s hard to like Carrie, but I always loved her. She can be tough and a bit mean, but she’s never wrong. Her story and her sense of self just click, and I think the lesson she learns in her return to the courts is a good one for all of us to take in, in a world that moves so fast. Though I have to say, the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking “I genuinely hope this book ends with Carrie getting some sort of help…” and, spoiler alert, it does not. I think Carrie displays some behaviors of OCD, and her brashness clearly derives from a discomfort with losing (sounds familiar!). I loved her but it couldn’t be comfortable to live in her head, with her insecurities, and I wanted better for her.

The supporting characters in this book were also AMAZING! I loved Carrie’s dad, Javier, and her tennis partner, Bo. Her agent was also wonderful. I liked all of them for supporting Carrie while also nudging her in a direction that was healthier for herself, her mind and her body. They help make this story the learning journey it is and should be. They soften Carrie, in contrast to the way tennis hardens her around the edges.

I have a hard time conveying just how much I loved Carrie Soto is Back. Sometimes, a book walks into your life at just the right time, and I think it sticks with you a lot more for that. I’m so glad I read this one.

Happy reading! 🙂

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