At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.
In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I really enjoyed Malibu Rising, so I was really excited when I found out that Reid had written Carrie Soto is Back, especially since Carrie had been mentioned as the anti-Nina in Malibu. What would a book from Carrie's perspective be like? Would we as readers end up liking her after the cheating scandal? Ultimately, this book is a standalone and Carrie is a powerhouse of a character who is here for one thing: to win it all.
Reid loves her parental figures and the way they shape who their children become, and this book is know different. Completely opposite from Mick Riva in Malibu, Javier Soto is dedicated to his daughter and her career, building is own life as her coach when it's clear that she's going to be an incredible tennis player. The twist here is that his passion actually results in Carrie not fully understanding that there is more to life than titles. I love how their relationship as coach/athlete and father/daughter overlap but always comes from a place of love. They go through a lot of difficult times, but this relationship was great to read about.
Strong Female Character
I love that Carrie has no apologies for being who she is. Although I don't know sports (or any athletes) well, I was getting a lot of Serena Williams vibes from the way the *male* media talked about Carrie. Everything from "why doesn't she smile more" to "she's a bitch" are such classic critiques of any woman in the public eye, which is ridiculous because there is obviously never the same comments about men. Reid did an excellent job with Carrie Soto because we get to see how Carrie refuses to give into this public pressure is is simply there to play, and win, the game. I absolutely love that she doesn't apologize for being amazing!
Slow Building Romance
I love a good romantic relationship and I particularly enjoyed watching Bo and Carrie come together. They are both emotionally stunted when it comes to romantic relationships, so it was great to get to see them figure out how to be in each other's lives. Although they start off as training partners, the respect that grows between them is the foundation I like to see in relationships - less glamour, more reality to what it takes to support each other.
Overall, I thought this was an excellent book. Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid will be excited about this new release! While Carrie's unapologetic attitude might be jarring to some readers, I ultimately feel like we need to see and read about more women like this. It's a very different book than Daisy Jones or Malibu Rising, but I think that's part of it's charm: Carrie Soto stands on her own as a unique character and I love her for it.
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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