Five Star Feature: Carrie Soto Is Back


Most of the books I focus on in the space are cozy mysteries. But occasionally I read a book that is outstanding in another genre. Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fun follow up to Malibu Rising and is debuting at the end of August. And it knocked my (tennis) socks off!

What it’s all about…

Carrie Soto first appeared as a small character who was having an affair with a fellow professional tennis player who was married to one of the main characters in Malibu Rising. I had found Carrie intriguing in that book, and love how Taylor Jenkins Reid fleshed out her story in this book. Carrie Soto, with her father as coach, is making a comeback to regain her record of winning the most Grand Slam tournaments ever by a woman. New star Nikki Chan has matched Carrie’s old record, so Carrie puts together a comeback plan to play each of the slams in the upcoming season. The book follows her quest and the relationships she develops along the way, especially with herself and her approach to tennis and life.

Here’s the scoop…

Carrie is a vibrant and strong character. She is ambitious without being strident, though some in the book’s tennis world say she’s too single minded and mean to opponents. I like that she’s allowed to be ambitious without becoming a stereotype, and that the book explores her whole personality. She’s not necessarily a likable character, but you definitely root for her. There’s a romance that is interesting and has depth. Reid explores what it’s like to dedicate your life to something, and the exclusions that involves.

There’s so much tennis…

I am a big tennis fan, so I was able to immerse myself in the scenes where Carrie is playing a match. Non-tennis fans may not follow all the terms and style of the matches, tournaments, and season. But I think the book goes beyond the game to become a great character study about a strong woman deciding where her life’s pursuit fits into her overall perspective.

The verdict…

A well-written and stellar outing for Taylor Jenkins Reid. On par or better than Daisy Jones and the Six. I loved this book!

Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy. All opinions are my own.

Rating: Five stars.

I’m going on vacation!

Just as I get back into the swing of things, I’m headed to a conference with a group of young people. I’ll have a round up next Wednesday of funny cozies, then will return on Sunday July 17th with a new feature: The Sunday Bulletin. Stay tuned!

Happy Reading!

— Amy

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