Title: Carrie Soto Is Back
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pub. Date: August 30th 2022
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Balantine Books
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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮
Carrie Soto the winner of 20 Grand Slams titles who has since retired is watching a game at the 1994 U.S. Open where a younger Nicki Chan is about to break her record. The Battle-Axe has built a career in tennis as a fiercely driven, competitive and grant no mercy icon. She lives, breathes, and dreams tennis alongside her father Javier a former champion himself who has dedicated his life to training her. Carrie may not have the charisma the fans look for or the likeability factor in her favor but she’s well respected as one of the greats. When she announces her return from retirement for the sake of reclaiming her record/title, the sports casters are ruthless. They voice their disapproval and break down all of the reasons (age & stamina) she should just stay in retirement and let the younger tennis players have their day. Carrie could care less about anyone’s opinion, she knows she’s taking on a task many have already counted her out of but it only serves to further motivate her. This book is heavy on the tennis talk, it can never be said that TJR doesn’t research her subjects thoroughly. We see Carrie both on and off the court with her dad Javier running plays and really pushing her body to the limits day and night. It is a story about a father/daughter relationship that is nurtured through tennis. It is a story about grief, that of loved ones and that which we experience when certain chapters come to a close.
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s signature style story-telling has delivered some of the most memorable female protagonists. Carrie Soto is an archetype she writes well and will remind readers who’ve read TJR’s previous books of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones, and Nina Riva. In similar fashion TJR throws out some easter eggs with mentions of characters we’ve met in her previous books. Readers should also know that there are bits of Spanish sprinkled throughout the book (translation guide not included) yet that does not make this a Latine book. We are made aware that these are Argentinean characters but that’s about as deep as it gets with regards to their ethnicity and culture. I went in knowing this and did not pick it up for Latine representation since TJR is not a Latine author. My pull towards this book was the father/daughter relationship that was mentioned in the synopsis since these types of stories are my Achilles heel for personal reasons. Yes, the tennis was well researched and engaging. Yes, Carrie herself is intriguing and complex. Yes, the sportscaster commentary mixed in made for a more realistic play by play of the matches. The father/daughter relationship however was the real highlight of this book and Javier in my opinion is the real star of the show. Javier has a special place in my heart and will be quite difficult to forget.
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