I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. The first in September and already everything is starting to feel autumnal and I absolutely adore it. Autumn is my favourite season and I cannot wait until the chilly feels are fully kicked in.
Thank you to @hutchheinemann for this advanced copy of Carrie Soto Is Back by @tjenkinsreid in return for an honest review. Carrie Soto Is Back was published on 30th August 2022 and you can get a copy here.
At the time of retirement, Carrie Soto is the best tennis player the world has seen; by any measure. She worked hard for her accomplishments and sacrificed a lot to get there.
Fast forward to 1994 and Carrie is sat watching the US Open witnessing her twenty slam record being taken away from her, by a younger British player. This triggers Carrie to make the biggest decision of her career and come out of retirement for one final year, with her father as her coach and an old love interest as a training partner.
Despite her age, despite what the press say about her and despite her body’s inability to match the speed of the younger players, Carrie Soto is back in a big way.
General Thoughts 🤔
Of course my expectations were high for this book. TJR has set the bar so high for herself, I think all of her fans expect to be blown away by any work that she puts out there. Carrie Soto Is Back was a fantastic book and I did very much enjoy it. BUT. I have to say, it wasn’t my favourite TJR book.
I struggled to get into this story for about the first quarter of the book. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen but didn’t know quite what it was going to be. Once I let go of that and let myself become invested in Carrie’s fight for the top, I was hooked. I’m not ashamed to admit that there were times that I let out an audible “whoop” for Carrie.
By the time I was swept away in the story, I was cheering and yelling for Carrie (in my head) like I was there in Melbourne and Paris and Wimbledon. I didn’t just want this character to do well, I needed her to do well. I knew that winning a slam wasn’t necessarily the be all and end all for Carrie and her not knowing that was what made me so invested in her. She was fantastically flawed and I’m learning that flawed characters is my love language.
Carrie’s relationship with her father was beautiful. I loved that she didn’t always like what he told her to do, but she did it anyway. It showed how much she loved and trusted him. It was heartbreaking that he thought he had failed Carrie by making her entire life about tennis and closing her heart off from anything else.
Writing Style ✍️
Honestly, there isn’t much that TJR can do wrong in my opinion. I appreciate that sometimes people can fall in love with a book or two from the same author and become biased towards anything else they do, but I have genuinely enjoyed everything that I have read of hers.
There is something about her writing that makes me feel like I’m watching a documentary or a movie. Everything feels real and she has the ability to create characters that we as readers all fall in love with and fan girl over just as much as we fan girl over Taylor herself.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
Ok, so I started this book knowing little to nothing about tennis. I spent a small amount of time thinking that nothing much was going to happen. I then very quickly felt like I was sat in the players box, cheering on these fictional tennis players, invested in their careers and their lives. TJR has done it again. Another book and more characters that I’m sure readers will adore just as much as I did.