Book Book Review – Carrie Soto Is Back: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto Is Back: A Novel

5 STARS!!!! I just finished it, and it was fantastic.  I read this one going in pretty-much blind, barely paying attention to the synopsis but I trusted I’d love it ’cause Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my absolute favorite authors in the world. When this latest release was on super-sale a few weeks ago, I one-clicked it SO HARD!!!!

Seriously guys, if you haven’t read her yet, or you think the premise of this book might not be for you (as I almost did when I realized what it was about) you’re missing out!! What shocks me is that, if I had heard the description of what it’s mostly about, I probably wouldn’t have read it (thinking “eh… not my thing…”), but I am so glad I did.

Nicole: Yes. 5 stars from me, also.

Vikki: It was one of my favorites this year too!!

Lena: Loved it!! I’m big into tennis so loved that aspect of it!! ❤️

Maryse: It makes me feel like watching tennis now, big time! I was on the edge of my seat so many times… and I couldn’t even see it, but I could envision it like I was watching it. Pretty incredible!

Karen: Yup. Loved it. TJR is a gifted writer. She made me love a book with a main character I disliked. Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is my favorite of hers, then this one.

Ana: It was a 5 star listen for me, and I have no interest in tennis. I loved it.

Maryse: She’s an incredible writer!!

Lisa: I loved it!!!!

I don’t even know how I can review it because it’s full on, constant tennis (every game, her practices, the techniques, the other players, the rules, the tricks… and especially, nerve-rackingly, the competitions!!!) but even if it was tennis-intensive, I LOVED IT. I was hooked. I don’t even really pay attention tennis or follow it… but I was addicted to this book.

How do I explain it’s 100% tennis yet it’s SO much more than that? Sweet family dynamics and being in the head of an ornery, jaded, intensely passionate main character the entire way. She seems emotionless, but as we go, we feel her BIG TIME!!

So what’s it about? 

Raised by her loving and supportive father, (and also coached by him, too)…

“Every match you play, you are one match closer to becoming the greatest tennis player the world has ever seen. You were not born that person. You were born to become that person. And that is why you must best yourself every time you get on the court. Not so that you beat the other person—”

“But so that I become more myself,” I finished.

“Now you’re getting it,” my father said. “You played the best tennis you’ve ever played in your life.”

“And you’re happy,” I said. “With me. Because I played great.”

“Because you played the best you ever have.”

“And every day I will play better and better,” I said. “Until one day, I am the greatest.”

“Until you’ve reached the fullest of your potential. That’s the most important thing.”

…Carrie Soto, from a young age, became pretty much the world’s best female tennis player (breaking records, setting her own records, and winning everything, or… pretty much 😉 ). Maybe she’s even the best overall (men or women).

She’s known as the most driven player, dedicated and focused, but completely no-nonsense and unabashedly direct.

No matter how good I was on the court, I was never good enough for the public. It wasn’t enough to play nearly perfect tennis. I had to do that and also be charming. And that charm had to appear effortless.

Even in self-promotion. She doesn’t play to the fans, she doesn’t play to the media, and she never makes friends with… anyone. She’s the best and doesn’t have time for pleasantries, and pandering.

It was okay to win as long as I acted surprised when I did and attributed it to luck. I should never let on how much I wanted to win or, worse, that I believed I deserved to win. And I should never, under any circumstances, admit that I did not believe all of my opponents were just as worthy as I was.

The bulk of the commentators…they wanted a woman whose eyes would tear up with gratitude, as if she owed them her victory, as if she owed them everything she had.

I don’t know if it had ever been within me to act like that, but by the age of twenty, it was long gone. And it cost me.

But she’s so talented, that everyone respects her (while still calling her a few choice “pet names”… annnnnd keeping their distance). 😂

No smiles, no tears, no reactions. Just laser-focus and killer moves. She’s at the top off her game and at the top of her winning mindset!!!

For decades, my talent and drive were utterly devastating to those who stood in my wake. If each person is blessed with an individual gift, determination is mine.

But eventually, she needs knee surgery, needs recovery time, physical therapy etc etc… and she retires.

That is, until a much younger tennis player comes along and reaches the almost impossible. Carrie Soto’s incredible record.

I’m stuck up here in the seats. I have to sit here and watch Nicki take away everything I’ve worked for.

And she just might break it.

If she wins this match, she’ll tie my lifetime record of twenty Grand Slam singles titles. I set that record back in 1987, when I won Wimbledon for the ninth time and established myself as the greatest tennis player of all time.

And that, my friends, is why CARRIE SOTO IS BACK!!!!

It has been such a long time since I’ve played a tournament. And it’s been almost three times as long as that since I’ve played one unseeded.

It sends a tiny thrill through me, like I’m a teenager again, staring up at a mountain I have yet to scale, each match a step toward the top. It has been so long since I have felt the perfect ache of climbing.

I’m going to leave it there and let you experience her amazing life, career, and especially… her growth. WOW. JUST… WOW!!!!

No…. I know it’s not a romance… BUT!!! Considering her laser-focus on being the best and not having much time for anything else, (or so she tries to convince herself)… there is definitely a love interest, and various kinds of heartache along the way.

This moment—my father and me here in the hall, waiting to go out—feels just like it used to. I’m back at war, after years of not knowing how to live during peacetime. This is the only place where I make sense to myself.

Really, all it comes down to, is that it’s got SO MUCH HEART!!!!!!!!! That’s why, despite it being tennis and mostly all tennis, the characters were some of the best characters I’ve ever read. The competition, the anger, the intensity, the unlikely friendships forged… GAH it was AMAZING!!!!

Taylor Jenkins Reid is one talented writer. She’s just incredible. Her stories are relatable (even if on the surface, you’d not see immediate similarities), but it’s with her characters, their introspection, being in their heads, where you truly connect.

Tasha J: She is a pretty great author and every book of hers I’ve read, I’ve easily not wanted to put it down. I’ve heard great things about this book also. Tennis sure sounds like golf to me, but you kind of sell it here. Lol!

5 STARS!! <— LOVE IT. IT HAS SO MUCH INCREDIBLE HEART! I was hooked from the very start and I miss these characters BIG TIME! P.S. It also made me cry. 😉

➔➔➔  Looking for more of my must-read recommendations? Browse my 5 star and 4.5 star and 4 starreviews. 😀

➔➔➔ Love this author? Check out more of my Taylor Jenkins Reid features and reviews on my blog!

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