Cover Image: Carrie Soto Is Back

Carrie Soto Is Back

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Member Reviews

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Random House UK for approving me for an ARC of this book. I love TJR and am making my way through her entire collection so I squealed with delight when I got approved for this one.

I firstly must apologise to two of my book club members as we were buddy reading this one over on Storygraph. However I picked this up on Tuesday and could not put it down and raced through to the end. Luckily with Storygraph you can leave comments along the way so they will see my views as they read it.

Where do I even begin with this one. Firstly, who knew that a book centred around tennis could be so addictive. The matches were described just enough to make me aware of what was going on without boring me at the same time. I actually felt the tension during the pinnacle moments and felt that I was holding my breath on several occasions, waiting to see where the ball would land.

Carrie Soto is bold, fierce and one hell of a tennis player. Whilst this story is about her comeback I actually enjoyed the development of Carrie as a person. Yes she has a hard exterior and to the media she comes across as ‘The Beast’ but there is a softer side to her too. The relationship with her father and training partner Bowe were the highlights of the story for me. Even her feud/friendship with Nicki Chan was entertaining and showed the best and worst of women’s sports.

I was rooting for Carrie from the start and when the media got involved it only fuelled my support for her. Whilst her comments and actions weren’t always agreeable with me I couldn’t help but love her and want to see her prove everyone wrong. She’s a force to be reckoned with that shows what pure determination and obsession can do to a person.

Towards the end of the book I was in tears and the just kept flowing. It’s a beautiful story and has now taken my top spot for my favourite TJR read!
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Only two weeks to go until the explosive Carrie Soto is Back hits shelves and I'm so excited for people to read it. When the book starts, Carrie has decided in the 1990s to come out of retirement to take back her title for most slams and show everyone why she is still the greatest of all time. However, we quickly realise she is as famous for her unapologetic bad manner as she is for her unmatched game. 

This is the fourth book of Taylor Jenkins Reid immersive, loosely related "series" about invented and interconnected pop culture figures in the late 20th century in California: movie stars in the 60s like Evelyn Hugo, rock and roll legends in the 70s like Daisy Jones and surfers in the 80s in Malibu Rising. You don't have to have read any of the others to enjoy this novel (and in fact it is far better than the previous book), but readers will remember Carrie's introduction in Malibu Rising, when she turns up to the house party as the "other woman" and gives that guy hell.

Carrie's ruthlessness and refusal to compromise could sound unlikable, or like Reid is making her seem like a bitch for the sake of it, but Soto is an incredibly thoughtfully drawn character and I felt like I knew her totally, and completely understood her reactions and decisions at every turn. Not only that, but I got more annoyed each time the narrative switched to press or broadcast villanising of her every move. When she wins a huge match and roars "Who's next?" into the screaming crowd, I was nearly on my feet screaming too, and I could feel my heart thumping in my chest. It's electrifying, and is a triumph for Reid's storytelling.

Taylor Jenkins Reid succeeds again in making you believe these celebrities are real and the perfectly fleshed out world and popular culture around them supports this feeling completely. I love that, by creating this new world full of its own cultural memory Reid is really saying pop culture is important, we find the cult of celebrity fascinating for a reason and informs so much of how we see ourselves in and relation to famous people, and as well as how we see recent history.
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Carrie Soto Is Back is such a fun and exhilarating read! It actually made me excited about tennis and invested in Carrie’s return. I loved that it also explores her relationship with her father and coach who is with her every step of the way, through the good and the bad. It was a very emotional read and one that I still haven’t recovered from.

I loved that it started off with Carrie wanting to return to defend her record, before taking us back to when she was younger and playing her first matches. I love how fierce and unapologetic she is. Her determination to win and smash every record makes her very unpopular among her fellow players and also the public. Her drive to succeed when she was younger came with its sacrifices as she has no friends and has never been in a proper relationship with anyone. However, we slowly see a change in her as she gets close to another tennis player, Bowe Huntley, who has also returned to the sport. The slow burn romance between them was perfect as it showed Carrie slowly overcoming her fears and reluctance to let anyone into her life. They train together with the help of Carrie’s dad and the three of them become closer as the story progresses. It was honestly so heartwarming seeing how much Bowe cared for her father.

The relationship between Carrie and her father was explored beautifully. There was definitely some ugly moments, however, seeing how proud and supportive her father is no matter if she wins or loses was so heartwarming. I was definitely not expecting to cry while reading this but there’s a couple of moments that had me in tears. I just cared about these characters so much. I really love how developed they are and how you can see the ups and downs of their lives so clearly.

This is my first book by this author and it definitely won’t be the last. It’s a beautifully written story that had me completely falling in love with the characters and had me on the edge of my seat during the intense tennis matches. It’s a captivating and unputdownable story that I’m sure many people will love.
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There’s just something about the way Taylor Jenkins Reid tells a story. I love that she tackled an unlikable character. Eleanor Hugo hovered around the edges of that, but Carrie Soto is all in as an unlikable character and I was fascinated by how much I wanted to read about her. I am pretty sure the intention was to call this book The Bitch is Back, and some crazy marketing person talked Taylor out of it. She should have stuck to her guns. 
Even though I am a mediocre tennis fan, the intensity in this book is immense. I wanted the full story arc for Carrie because she deserved it. The writing just pulls you in and holds you. I want the next Taylor Jenkins Reid book already.
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Carrie Soto is back aka The B**ch is back!!

Having read Malibu rising and seeing a glimpse of Carrie in that book. I was so excited to read this book. 

Carrie, is now retired from Tennis, but Niki Chan has come along and threatened to beat Carrie’s title. The only thing for it, is for Carrie to come out retirement…. but can she live up to her old reputation?!

I love how this book delves back into how Carrie’s career started, explaining how and why she got to be the person she is/was. 

This book has made me view tennis is such a different like and I really am going to watch the next slam with my new knowledge. 

If you enjoyed Malibu rising then you’ll enjoy this. 

The only negative for me was the Spanish parts as there was no translation. However, this does not affect the book or the story
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4 stars.

After reading (and loving) Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones, I had high expectations going into Carrie Soto Is Back. Whilst I didn't think Carrie was as compelling a protagonist, I still ended up enjoying this book a lot! The plot was incredibly compelling and it was easy to imagine Carrie Soto as a real tennis player. The side characters were all very fun to read about, especially in the latter half of the book when certain characters are developed more.

Whilst I ended up flying through this book, there were moments throughout that perhaps seemed predictable. I was also a tiny bit underwhelmed with the prose and the writing style - it was occasionally rather simplistic, particularly compared to the intricacies of Carrie Soto's story.

Overall, a highly enjoyable read with a story and characters that will stay with me long after I finished it.
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The story
At 37, Carrie Soto, former world champion tennis player realises that her Grand Slam record is about to be overtaken by Nicky Chan seven years after she stopped playing following an injury. Carrie decides to return to tennis. The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open allow her to enter. But it will take blood, sweat and tears from her and her coach father to get there. 

My thoughts
Okay. I just really love TJR’s writing. This story felt so much like reading Daisy Jones. It’s filled with tennis and not music, but I loved the feeling that I was ready to go Google more about the characters, hard to believe that this isn’t a true story. I loved the special bond that Carrie and her father, who adore each other, share. Their minds and hearts are intertwined following a lifetime of being a family of two after Carrie lost her mother and Javier lost his young wife. Carrie’s relationship with Bowe, mens tennis player and should have been “has been” fascinated me. Carrie is wary of love and commitment, but Bowe’s love for her shows it’s through “Acts of Service”. Bowe accepts Carrie, her grumpiness and what really lies beneath and is waiting for her to find self-acceptance. A beautiful read, the pace is perfect, the introspection is very real and it all just “works” ❤️
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She does not miss. 

Did I have any interest in tennis going into this book? No. Am I now heavily invested? Hell yes. Taylor Jenkins Reid could write a book on any subject matter and make it brilliant, compelling and gripping. It is truly the most amazing talent. I am so in awe of this author.

What a book. Every single character is so brilliantly written, so complex and nuanced. The relationship between Carrie and her father, the relationship between Carrie and Bowe, the relationship between Bowe and Carrie’s father, even Carrie’s relationship with Nicki. Every single one was so thorough, so real, so right. This author is an artist. Honestly. 

And what a journey. This book peaks and troughs. It will have you laughing and crying. I cannot wait for this to be released so  everyone can appreciate just how excellent it is. 

I cannot wait to read what TJR has up her sleeve next. I have never met one of her books I didn’t love, and I’m 6 deep!
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Taylor Jenkins Reid is an auto-buy author for me. Love her writing, and this book did not disappoint. 
Carrie Soto is a retired tennis player, and we see her return to professional tennis to defend her record. We delve into Carrie’s past to understand her more. We see her become the “battle-axe” and what life was like for Carrie, on and off the court. Carrie faces quite a lot of criticism for playing “unladylike”. TJR has done it again! 
GAME, SET AND MATCH!!!! This book was absolutely fantastic and deserves all five stars!
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Carrie Soto came back with a bang!!! I cannot express how much I enjoyed this book. It's thrilling, fast paced, atmospheric and utterly utterly moving.

My favourite part about this book is the  star of the show herself. Carrie's character is so well developed I'm convinced she is real. Fighting against unrelenting misogyny and constant criticism, Carrie is one hell of a protagonist; feirce, determined, tenacious and unapologetically herself......she is someone who we could all do with channelling from time to time. To be fair, if I knew her in real life I probably wouldn't like her, but as a reader I got to see underneath the harsh, rude exterior and I couldn't help but fall in love. 

The relationships in this book are complex and messy but quietly unassuming and beautiful at their core. Some are integral to the journey Carrie goes on, for me a journey of self discovery as much as a journey around the tennis courts. 

This book is packed full of tennis , but written in such a clever and easy way that if, like me, you know nothing about the sport, it won't matter at all. You'll be a tennis fan by the end!! 

For me this book was truly excellent, I cheered and cried my way through it and loved every word. Read it, you won't regret it. Now.....who's watching the US Open???
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Another compelling and nuanced book that's hard to put down from Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved the complexity of Carrie Soto, and was completely gripped by the setting and relationships.
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Powerhouse , phenomenal, captivating , pick any of those words and you would be describing the amazing book ‘Carrie soto is back’ by the legend that is Taylor Reid Jenkins. 

This is the story of Carrie soto , moulded from her first breaths into a tennis superstar by her father and the journey of her gaining fame, lose and then coming back to regain her title as a legend. 

Carries world took over my life and I read this book in two days, I never wanted to return to reality and could have lived in carries world eternally. 

I actually squealed with delight when Carrie picks up daisy jones and the six to read as I have just read that masterpiece recently too. 

Just wow , this book will be one of the l bookstagram must reads of the year and I really didn’t expect to like it that much going in! 

I really don’t want to give too much away but please everyone promise me you will read it and thank me later !
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It’s tennis’ turn to get the Taylor Jenkins Reid treatment.  In Carrie Soto is Back we follow an ageing tennis superstar as she decides to go for one last moment of glory. Another player has matched her record of gland slam titles and so she decides she must come out of retirement and play all the Grand Slams one more time. 
A word of warning, there are a lot of tennis matches in the book, particularly in the first half which flashes back through her early years as her father, Javier, coaches her to greatness. Carrie isn’t an easy character to love either, certainly until the later stages as she finally finds love and acceptance. 
However, as always with TJR it is a blast to read, she sweeps you into the world of elite tennis and the story barrels along, eventually coming to just the ending you didn’t know you wanted but is just perfect.  I still think Daisy and the Six is my favourite of her books but I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Carrie, Javier and Bowe. Thank you to #netgalley and #randomhouse for allowing me to review this ARC
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Carrie Soto, aka The Battle-Axe, was the best female tennis player of all time when she retired in the late 80s. But 6 years later, during the 1994 US Open, she watches Nicki Chan equal her 20 Grand Slam titles record. Carrie refuses to give up her legacy without a fight and decides to come out of retirement at 37 to reclaim her record. There's many hurdles to overcome: old injuries, being coached again by her father Javier (who she ditched at the height of career) and training with Bowe Huntley, who previously ghosted her romantically. Can Carrie beat the odds and succeed?

This is book 4 from Taylor Jenkins Reid set in the same universe of fictionally famous people. Book one was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, then Daisy Jones and The Six and finally last year's Malibu Rising. It's in this book we're briefly introduced to Carrie Soto. Carrie is a formidable character, cold and ruthless as an athlete  and the reason why she earned her title 'The Battle-Axe'. Her only friends are her father and her agent Gwen. But even though she's not very likeable, I did feel for Carrie and root for her. She shows moments of vulnerability and a portion of this book deals with that it's like to be a female athlete. The boxes you get put into, the sexism and condescension you deal with. Carrie has put a wall around herself to protect these vulnerabilities, which in turn makes her look like an icy bitch. It's the price she pays for her success. 

There's a lot of tennis in this book. Don't worry if you know nothing, it is explained at the beginning through Carrie's coaching as a child. As someone who likes tennis, I enjoyed this part of the book as I can sense the atmosphere and excitement of the court. But the book is mainly about Carrie's relationships: with her father, with Bowe Huntley, with her rivals. One thing TJR does so well in these books is making you believe these people are famous and wanting to look them up and Carrie Soto is Back was no exception!

Taylor Jenkins Reid has served another smashing read, perfect to round out the summer. If you've loved other TJR books then you'll enjoy this one too
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TJR is back and better than ever. Feeling like we got the hints of Carrie Soto in Malibu Rising, hearing her story was an exquisite trip through time, as we meet Carrie, debating whether to come out of retirement to reclaim her tennis titles and stop her legendary status from being outshone by new up and comers. 

There is a lot of tennis lingo woven in, and just like she does with all of her books, TJR makes you as obsessed with her protagonists worlds as they are. Carrie's life is tennis so therefore as you read you become more and more invested in her story. 

Honestly though the less said about Mick Riva the better..
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Thank you to Netgalley for my copy of Carrie Soto!
I absolutely love Taylor's books and I think my heart still belonged to Daisy Jones..... until possibly now!! 
I recently read Malibu Rising, where we first caught a sight of Carrie and Malibu was an ok read but wasn't up there with the Taylor books I love, however I was so intrigued to read Carrie Soto.
And boy did it ace!! It was fast paced, interesting and quirky and I have fallen in love with Carrie and Javier, their relationship, their sheer determination, their attitudes and their love for both the tennis and each other!!!
Think my favourite character is Bowe who is amazing and I just loved every bit of it, I could picture being sat at Wimbledon watching the matches and cheering Carrie on. 
Its heavy on the tennis, but as someone who quite likes attempting to play (haha) and enjoys watching the rallies then I found this book fascinating. 
Don't let the tennis element put you off, its absolutely brilliant and you will be routing for Carrie the whole way.
A five star read, I'm in love!!!
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TJR is a word genius. I don't even know where to start about what this did to me. I laughed, got annoyed, held my breath and genuinely cried.
The way she matches the pace, movement and atmosphere of a tennis match is phenomenal. I forgot I was reading and felt like I was right there. This fast pace was further amplified when, in very TJR style, broken up by commentaries and newspaper articles. 
Carrie Soto as an individual is questionable but knowing her past, seeing her depth and strength, you can't help but love her. She is inspirational, shows the world what women can achieve regardless of what society say. 

All in all- Read this. You will not be disappointed.
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— 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 —

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: Carrie Soto Is Back
𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬: N/A
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫(𝐬): Taylor Jenkins Reid
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Fiction 
𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐝: 30th August 2022
𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: 4/5

Did I think I could get this excited about tennis? No. Did I love every minute of it? Absolutely. 

Carrie Soto is our heroine of this story, she’s unlikable, abrasive, and apathetic. However, she’s also admirable, determined, and has a heated spirit which refuses to be dampened. Her sights are set on taking her record back from Nicki Chan and she doesn’t care who she tramples in the process. 

There’s something about this book that makes my heart beat a little harder and my breathing a little faster. With it’s fast pace, it’s incredibly intense. My eyes couldn’t help but volley from one page to another, even at 2AM when I should be saying ’game, set, match’ and grand slamming myself into bed.

But, the real sweet spot is the dynamics between Carrie and her father. They can be so sweet together, even though it’s often a relationship that relies on constructive criticism and running drills. All this ‘tough coach’ act was underlined by a million I love you’s, a thousand I believe in you’s, and hundreds of you are my purpose. 

I can’t help but think this would be brilliant as an audiobook to listen to whilst exercising. !There’s so much fire in it to pump up the reader and it made me want nothing more than to go and play tennis (says a reader who has never, not once, played tennis in her life). 

I didn’t expect this read to move me as much as it has, even when I was at the halfway point. But if anyone can make me fall in love with a sport story, it’s Taylor Jenkins Reid.


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Carrie Soto is Back is a typically well crafted Taylor Jenkins Reid novel. 

The book follows retired tennis player, Carrie Soto, as she attempts to make a comeback and retain her record. The plot is a bit predictable but the real focus is the characterisation of Carrie who is brilliantly written. Carrie is stubborn, ruthless   and down right unlikeable in a lot of ways, and yet she’s also strong, resilient and determined, despite her flaws you can’t help but root for her. It’s truly a testament to the strength of the writing that Carrie is such a complex character and a brilliant heroine.

I also enjoyed reading about Carrie’s relationships, with rivals, lovers, her agent and in particular her dad. Carrie’s dad,  Javi, is a great tennis player turned coach for his daughter. Their relationship is tempestuous and their dynamic felt familiar to some coach-player relationships on the tour. Javi is also a great character in his own right and his impact on Carrie and the story is felt throughout, in a way that felt true to real life father-daughter relationships.

This book features a lot of tennis matches and they’re somehow recapped in a way that keeps them entertaining and full of tension. As a big tennis fan, I really enjoyed this. I think it would be easy to follow if you only had basic knowledge of the sport but I do wonder if it would be as enjoyable - I’ll be interested to see what the consensus is once it’s realised! 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publishers for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I was approved for my ARC of Carrie Soto is Back the night before catching a flight to my summer holiday in Greece, it couldn’t have been better timing! My absolute favourite book of the holiday (I read 7, so there was quite a bit of competition) that I finished within a day by the pool, cocktail in hand. 
A quick google search informed me that Carrie Soto is a side character from a previous TJR book Malibu Rising, as I hadn’t read any of her novels before I decided it was best to read Malibu Rising first just in case of any spoilers. Whilst this definitely wasn’t necessary, it did leave me wary and resentful of the character Carrie may turn out to be however I was quickly won over by her determination and strength. You could argue that Carrie isn’t a “nice” person but she is clearly powerful, respected and throughout the story we learn how she is gravely misunderstood. Her relationships with her rivals, lovers and coaches including her father are complicated however her mistrusting nature and complex relationships are enamouring. I knew very little of the tennis world before reading this but the jargon and tennis elements were not heavy and it didn’t for a second put me off or make me skip a page. In summary I absolutely adored Carrie Soto is Back and have recommended it to everyone I could. I have since read Daisy Jones and One True Loves, I’m officially a TJR fangirl however Carrie Soto is an ace for me.
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