Carrie Soto Is Back is the powerful story of a family and the shocking betrayal that destroys it. When Carrie Soto’s husband dies, she is shattered by grief. But when she discovers he has been having an affair, she enters a world of confusion and violence, one in which her most basic assumptions are shattered – about her marriage, her family, and herself.
Carrie Soto returns to college to study literature as a mature student. She falls in love with one of her professors but this ends when his wife finds out about their relationship. Carrie starts teaching again at university and meets Paul Jenkins Reid who becomes the love of her life but whose ambition for fame leads him away from Carrie…
From the Publisher
Kelly Gottschalk –
Relentless. Competitive. Uncompromising. Prickly. Carrie Soto is all aces. Taylor Jenkins Reid is back, and she has a winner is Carrie Soto. After what felt like an unfocused Malibu Rising, Carrie Soto Is Back is a tight, character driven novel that is incredibly focused…on winning. Carrie has been raised by her father and coach Javier, to value hard work, winning, and being the best. Which is great when you’re the best, and not-so-great when you’re not. And when the next great thing is a few serves away from becoming the best thing and supplanting you, well pull out your tennis shoes and racket and prepare to be served. Through blood, sweat and tears Carrie returns to her winning ways, but she also gains something just as, if not more important, than victory on the court. She begins to learn that there are people in her life that really value her for who she is, even when she isn’t the easiest person to like. And she’s not. There’s a reason why she’s called the b****, erm, the Battle-Ax, and having a filter isn’t one of them. Readers will definitely have their moments where they either think “I wish I had the guts to say something like that” or “why in the world couldn’t you stop for a second and think about how that would make someone feel”. Her relationship with her agent is the steady, unchanging one in this book, that anchors reteaming with her dad as her coach, training with former flame Bowden to get back to a competitive level and realizing a romantic relationship isn’t out of bounds, and realizing that as much as she wants to beat Nicki Chan on the court, she really kind of lucks who she is as a person off the court. The story is told over the course of a Grand Slam season, and Jenkins Reid does a great job of completing engrossing the reader in the sport. There were definitely parts where I was flying through the pages, caught up in the speed of the match as much as the story itself. I loved how Carrie is not a conventional heroine and how Jenkins Reid makes you root for her anyway. Knowing at least a little bit about tennis will help you follow the story a little bit better, but it’s never written above a level where someone who knows nothing about the sport makes you feel like you’re missing something. This one is definitely a winner!
Susie | Novel Visits –
? Before I ever opened the book, I knew I would like ?????? ???? ?? ???? by the incredible Taylor Jenkins Reid. The premise of a retired tennis superstar fighting to come back and cement her record for the most Grand Slam titles ever won by anyone spoke to me. What I didn’t know is that I would LOVE the story. I played tennis in high school and some more after that until life got crazy, so I had a firm foundation in understanding the sport.I was glad for that, but it’s not essential. Though this book is definitely about tennis, it’s much more about the mental side of the game and the relationships between Carrie and the very few people she allows in her life.By now everyone knows about this book, so I’m not going to summarize the plot or the fine points of Reid’s excellent storytelling. Instead I’m simply going to tell you the one thing I loved most about it: Carrie Soto was a badass, “???? ??” type of woman and we need more of those! Throughout her career, Carrie cared more about her game than making friends and playing to the press. Despite her success, or perhaps because of it, this earned her the moniker of “??? ??????-???.” We’d never hear such a title openly used today, but Carrie’s career began in the 70’s. When she made her comeback, the name calling and derision of male sports commentators only grew worse. No matter what the game threw at her, Carrie stood up, held her head high and played on. She was a force to be reckoned with and she was determined to make sure the world knew it. Carrie Soto didn’t simply want to make her mark on tennis history, she needed to. To anyone trying to get in her way? ???? ??! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️?Thanks to #BallantineBooks and @randomhouse for an electronic ARC of #CarrieSotoIsBack.∙
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a book about the world of tennis, but more than that, it’s a character study on what it takes to be at the top of your sport. I don’t know much about the sport of tennis, and I’m not much of a sports person, but I still loved this book.Carrie Soto is retired now from professional tennis, but someone is about to take her title for winning the most grand slams, and she’s not about to let that happen. It doesn’t matter that she’s 37 years old now, ancient for a professional tennis player, or that it’s been several years since she played professionally. She doesn’t need the money, but that title is hers.Carrie Soto was single-minded in her pursuit of winning all the tennis titles. With her father, Javier as her coach, there was nothing, and no one whom she would let get in her way of winning. She finally achieved everything she set out to do in the world of tennis and that’s when she decided to retire. But a hot new player, Nikki Chan is just about to pass her in the number of tennis titles, and that has Carrie Soto back on the court, training harder than she ever had before to take those titles back. Can she do it? What cost to Carrie?I’ll admit, I wasn’t excited about a book about tennis, I don’t know much about the sport, but this is by one of my favorite authors, so I decided to give it a try, and I’m so very glad I did! Sure, there is a lot about tennis, but it’s mostly a character-driven novel and Carrie Soto is a fascinating character. So is her father, Javier.Carrie Soto is back is a bit like one of those sports comeback movies where you have the washed-up baseball player (football, hockey, boxer, etc) and they work hard and make a comeback. But, Carrie Soto is so much more than that, it’s more about her journey to finding out what can make her happy, and how she grows into so much more than just a tennis player. As well as Carrie, I found her father, Javier a very interesting character, as her father and coach, I enjoyed their relationship and their love for each other.Now for the tennis. I said before, I’m not much of a fan of professional tennis and I don’t know much about the sport, but somehow, the author has made me a fan. I was on the edge of my seat at every tournament, wondering how Carrie will play, and of course, I was rooting her on at every turn. I didn’t need to know much about tennis to read this book or get into the nuances of the sport as the author does a phenomenal job of making the sport easy for me to understand and compelling enough to make me love the sport. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Megan G –
Have you read this incredible book yet? It’s definitely worth ALL the hype it’s been receiving. I’m not sure how TJR managed to make me fall in love with a book about tennis, but here we are. She is the queen of writing strong female leads and Carrie Soto is no exception. I loved Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones and Malibu Rising, so when this book came up to request on NetGalley it was a no brainer. I never expected that I would get a chance to read this early, so thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House for the gifted copy!At the height of her career, Carrie Soto was the best tennis player in the world. When a new, younger player, Nicki Chan, beats Carrie’s Grand Slam record, she decides to come out of retirement at age 37 to prove once and for all that she will always be the best. While the story mostly focuses on Carrie’s attempt at a comeback, it also dives into her past to show how she got to where she is.Carrie’s a difficult person to like, and that’s exactly what I like about her. She puts up with no crap, is completely no-nonsense and is often described as cold. Her determination to win and fiercely competitive spirit is inspiring, even if it doesn’t make her any friends in the tennis world. She sacrificed a lot of relationships in order to be the best, and the fact that she is treated differently than her male counterparts for it is glaringly obvious. It’s also a theme that runs throughout TJR’s other character-centric works, as well.The story is fast paced, quietly funny and full of competitive spirit. I love Carrie’s father, Javier, and their father/daughter relationship is the heart and soul of the story. Carrie’s interactions with her father, Nicki Chan and Bowe were all highlights for me. It wouldn’t be TJR without a bit of romance, and you know that was my favorite part.I continue to be blown away by the amount of effort that TJR puts into the accuracy of her historical novels. I love her writing style and the way she makes me fall in love with her characters over and over again. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for? Carrie Soto Is Back is available today.
KRISTINE A MCKENNA –
4.5* Solid. Excellent. Loved ? This BookI just finished this one and I really liked it. It gave a glimpse into the making of a Professional Tennis Player, something I knew nothing about, but found really entertaining. It felt almost like reading a thriller, I was flipping the pages quickly to see if Carrie would win or lose the match. I felt jittery and that on the edge of my seat feeling with tension on how things would work out.I inhabited Carrie’s world. This is where Taylor Jenkins Reid really excels. She can take a rough around the edges character like Carrie Soto, who starts out abrasive, rude, and self-centered and make you really care for how she does. You will route for Carrie to do better. In 1994, Carrie has gotten back into tennis because she wants to defend her record she won years prior. Carrie does not know how to lose, and winning at tennis is the only way she can imagine one can be a winner. I think she also loves tennis because it seems so black or white. You are great if you win and a complete mess up if you lose.The relationship between Carrie and her father is so endearing. He is her coach and biggest fan, but most importantly he is her biggest fan in life, he always loves and supports her through everything. He sees all Carrie’s flaws and knows she needs to broaden her life, but he has such a fine way of approaching this. When she is training for a tournament, he is all in. He helps her perfect her game in every way, yet he also makes it clear that he loves her just the same if she loses the match. She is perfect the way she is to him.Carrie does have some maturing to do, and throughout the book she does start to change. She has been so competitive that she has never let anyone into her life. Another tennis player, a man Bowe Huntley also is trying to give it another try on the tennis circuit. Carrie needs him to practice her game with, but slowly starts to let him into her life and learn from someone else. She can finally see someone beyond just their tennis stats. Her biggest competitor, the one after her record, Nicki Chan, Carrie thinks she must hate, but Chan teaches Carrie how to play the game with real dignity. Nicki, also let’s Carrie know that others struggle with challenges, too and the titles and honors are not purely hers.In the mid-90’s, there is tremendous pressure on women to be exceptional tennis players, but also play down their ambition. They must also play a role which includes being friendly and likeable, while also maintaining an outward look of ease, beauty, and perfection.Yet, to win in real life often takes a lot more guts and you will have to give in and compromise. You do need to listen to other people and love them with their flaws and imperfections, too. The greatness there in doing this is the win can be a whole lot better.? ? ?? ?Thank you NetGalley, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Ballentine for granting me this book. I am always happy to leave a review.
I received a copy for review.*Typically, I do not like a redemption story. When a person is a villain in one book, I am not likely to read a book about them. If they are truly awful, I don’t care if they get an HEA. In many cases, I’d rather picture them alone, destitute , and perhaps falling off a cliff. However, I forgot who Carrie was and I didn’t figure it out until about 1/2 way through. I am glad I didn’t remember.This book is definitely one with an unlikeable character who is the villain in some one else’s story. Carrie Soto was made to play tennis. Her father was a decent player and put a racket in her hand when she was three. She is dedicated and fierce and when she loses her mother, it becomes her whole like. Her father pours all of his love and determination into making her the best but he forgets that she needs to learn how to lose and how to keep her love for the sport. She takes the tennis world by storm but her directness makes her unpopular and she comes across harsh. This story is her journey to the top with all her mistakes and her walking away then trying to come back to keep her record in tact.Carrie is not easy to know or like. She doesn’t know what tact is and has no desire to play down her abilities or compliment people she beats. Either she’s the best or she’s not. And she cannot handle the not. She’s complicated and her relationship choices are unhealthy and destructive.It is not always an easy read but I loved getting inside this complicated, stubborn woman. I loved that parts of the text were in Spanish because I got to use my very rusty skills to translate and if I couldn’t, I used the translator on my Kindle. I love a book that teaches me something.This author has such a grasp of layered characters that are not always easy to understand. I loved this book even though I really didn’t want to see this character in a new light.
Ashlee Bree –
Although I have loved and enjoyed all of TJR’s books, I think Carrie Soto Is Back may be her best yet. My particular favorite. Call it her G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), if you will.As a former athlete myself with a dad-coach who was always in my corner even when he was he running me ragged with drills, goals, strategy, and pep talks, there was something about this book, and Carrie herself, that resonated with me deeply.We–well, we understood each other. We CONNECTED.Carrie’s comeback story felt familiar to me, almost personal in a way. Despite never having swung a tennis racket in my life, let alone never having played in a high-stakes professional match to uphold a Grand Slam record, either, I could still relate to all the time, effort, and drive Carrie poured into her sport. Into becoming – and remaining – the greatest player tennis has ever seen.I could understand why she was considered a force. A battle axe. A nightmare. (While men with her same focus and attitude were looked on favorably.) I could see why she not only wanted, but needed, to win. I also know what it means to chase after medals and titles and accomplishments that, if you won them, would leave the whole world cheering your name forever. Just like I know the gaping pit of despair that waits for you if you believe you’ll fall short of your goals.(I was an athlete once too, after all. I had similar dreams, I faced similar obstacles to success.)So although you don’t need to have a sports background/interest to be enthralled by this story and its characters, that aspect, that competitive “gotta be #1” ambiance and energy, added something extra for me. It made it easier to be submerged in the narrative, to be consumed by it. I could slip back and forth between engagement and reverie–reading, remembering, re-living.Suffice it to say that I lost no time at all before I was swept up in Carrie’s ambition and ruthlessness to succeed at almost any cost, with the odds against her notwithstanding.She was such a bold and unapologetic character. Stubborn, too. I couldn’t help but root for her to reclaim her title from upstart, Nicki Chan.There’s a hardness about her though, I won’t lie. There’s a toughness that takes time and patience to penetrate. Forged like she is from the fires of drive and determination, she is not the type of personality to bend or swerve with delicacy, not even with the people she loves, but I think therein lies her true beauty: She’s tireless. She’s tenacious. She’s a force to be reckoned with that is made of the solidest stuff there is, and because of that, you’ll never be able to forget who she is.The name Carrie Soto will forever tumble from people’s lips in awe, in respect. It will go down in infamy.She is a character who is impossible to forget.That said, what I loved most about this book was how I could slip on competitiveness like a second skin and live in it. I was able to see the tennis world through Carrie’s eyes, yes, but I also could peer backward through my own mind’s eye to re-visit some of my own sports-related experiences.There were so many times while reading when I could taste the sweat, feel the twinge of Carrie’s tired, burning muscles. Moments when I could smell the grass and clay beneath her feet as she trounced another opponent to dust, the thunder-roar of the crowd like that of a drug that adrenalizes the heart to keep an ailing yet agile body moving. There were times of triumph and failure. There was frustration, felicitation, stagnation–all of it culminating in a flurry of conflicted emotion that grew more intense with every turn of the page and begged readers, as well as Carrie herself, to ask, “Is there more to life than winning? Is being the best the only thing that matters?” There were even a few occasions when a father-daughter stratagem felt like it’d been ripped out of my own life’s playbook.What else is there to say except I was held hostage by Carrie’s comeback? I was riveted, ensnared. I disappeared into the game, the stakes, the outcome, as if I were there. I let the characters tie me into knots every step along the way: striving with them, playing harder against them. I won. I lost. I felt hope swell in my chest as well as deflate. In short, I couldn’t help but fall headlong into the nail-biting, ball-bouncing, heart-rate-spiking suspense of it all.Chapter after chapter, I would close my eyes and sink down deep into old memories, into old feelings that arose while I competed in my own youth, back when I was still kicking up dirt, two French braids flapping against the white numbers on the back of my shirt, and it was like I was right there playing alongside Carrie for all the marbles–in the moment as well as in a memory.It’s rare to find a book that lets you live in it twice. But in this one I did: once as Carrie Soto, the other as myself. It was as vicarious a read as a reading experience can be. So for that, top marks all around!
Linda Pfafflin –
Add Carrie to the group of memorable women like Daisy, Evelyn, and Nina that Taylor Jenkins Reid has so expertly created. Carrie has already been part of the TJR universe, appearing briefly as the “other woman” in “Malibu Rising.” So, yes, there might be a reference to perennial character Mick Riva….Carrie and her father Javier live by “Play everyday better than the last.” She retired after setting a record of 20 Grand Slams and a knee injury. Five years later, Nikki Chan has tied that record and Carrie wants it back at the ancient age of 37 (ha!). But is that a good idea? She was known as The Battle Axe and now they outrightly call her a b***h. She’s single, friendless, and although her father will coach her again, she needs a practice partner and absolutely no ranked woman tennis player will do it. So she teams up with another older player, Bowe Huntley, also trying to reconcile his fading career.I absolutely loved Carrie. She’s the protagonist and narrator who pours her inner heart out to the reader. This is more than a story about tennis — it’s about family, self-confidence and learning your limitations. Not only is Carrie brilliantly drawn, but so is her father, Javier, and Bowe, a player on his own personal journey. You don’t need to know that much about tennis (there’s a cool primer in the beginning). Every chapter specifically about a particular championship was a mini-story in itself with an exposition, complication, climax and resolution — enough matches to keep you breathless throughout the novel.Ms. Reid is also a master of late 20th century nostalgia (Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere are getting divorced! The kid in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” seems really talented!) that further makes the novel great.Bravo! 5 stars again for Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ll definitely listen to “Carrie Soto is Back” again when the audiobook is available.Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): YES That would be Carrie, who inherited her mother’s green eyes.Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): NO Just the grass courts that Carrie excels on (while struggling on clay ones).
Amazon Customer –
I barely have the words to tell you how much I loved CARRIE SOTO IS BACK.This is plotting as it’s finest! I was glued to the page, my heart racing each time Carrie picked up her racket.There’s a lot of tennis in this book, yes, but there’s even more heart. I loved Carrie so much. I probably loved her the way her father did: watching her from the sidelines, praying that things would go her way, not sure how to bear it if they didn’t. I was DESPERATE for her to win, to make her big comeback. She’s a complicated character, but so easy to love.Fierce and fiery, this in an incredibly powerful novel about female ambition, about resilience and determination, about refusing to accept less than you deserve. I think this book is going to be an emotional gut punch for any woman who has ever felt competitive or dreamed of the being the best at something. It certainly was for me.The father-daughter story, too, struck a deep emotional cord. There’s so much love in this story. I had an emotional hangover after reading this book, unable to do anything but sit the big feelings it stirred. I’m tearing up just writing this note.Daisy Jones was so special because it was TJR’s breakout and an inventive format. Malibu was the ultimate summer read. Evelyn was an incredible surprise. But I think this TJR’s best yet. CARRIE SOTO proves her to be a master of character, plot, and prose.
We first met Carrie Soto in “Malibu Rising” when she steals Nina Riva’s husband/tennis star, Brandon Randall. And wow, what a scene she made at the annual Riva party in Malibu. In “Carrie Soto is Back,” we learn all about Carrie and how she came to be the infamous “Battle Axe,” her beginnings as a child tennis prodigy and being coached by her father. The story is a timeline of her rise to fame, temporary retirement, and her return to tennis in order to retain her title of ‘Most Singles Slam Titles.’ Even with Carrie’s obnoxious personality, she does have people in her corner. Javier, her father/coach, Gwen her agent, and a love interest that understands her maybe better than she understands herself. I came to sympathize with Carrie and root for her in every comeback match. And I appreciated how the book touched on sexism, racism, and ageism. Carrie is one tough character, almost like a female John McEnroe. There is ALOT of tennis in this book, I kept having to remind myself ‘point, set, match’ to remember the progress of the game. Taylor Jenkins Reid has definitely ‘aced’ it with “Carrie Soto is Back,” now time to wait another year for her next novel. Maybe “The Nikki Chan Story”?