PLOT: 5/5

“We live in a world where exceptional women have to sit around waiting for mediocre men.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Carrie Soto is Back

Taylor Jenkins Reed is one of my favourite authors, a sort of an auto-buy if you will. Her stories are always emotional and very much character based and I always end up loving each and every work by her.

She is one author who needs no introduction and if you still haven’t read her yet, I urge you to pick up any book and you won’t be disappointed! That’s how magical and striking her writing is.

The latest in her kitty – Carrie Soto is Back is no exception to it. Once I went through that emotional and highly satisfying ride, there was simply no going back for me. The book turned out to be one of my favourite reads from 2022 and that’s one reason why you will certainly see me talking and writing a lot about it.

But it’s not just me, readers all over the world loved this book equally, so much so that Carrie Soto is Back also won the Goodreads Best Historical Fiction Award 2022. So far, it has an astonishingly high rating of 4.26 stars on the platform, as rated by 197k+ readers.

Well, if this doesn’t convince you to pick the book up, I don’t know what will.

“Some men’s childhoods are permitted to last forever, but women are so often reminded that there is work to be done.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Carrie Soto is Back

The plot


Carrie Soto is the best tennis player ever to walk this planet; she has broken all the records just by her sheer willpower and determination to win at any cost. She is trained and coached by none other than her father Javier who didn’t stop at anything just to get Carrie to where she is.

She retired after having won twenty Grand Slam titles, but now six years later, as she is sitting in the stands to watch the 1994 US open and her world record being broken by the stunning and magnificent player Nicki Chan, she can’t help but feel a tad disappointed.

And that’s when she makes a monumental decision, a decision that is bound to write her name in the pages of sports history. Now at 37, she decides to come out of her retirement and play for one last year so that she may reclaim her record. But not everything is as smooth as you think, for there are many who won’t shy away from pulling her down. Her body too isn’t as agile and fast as it once was.

But her biggest challenge ahead lies in training with a man who she once shared a lot with – Bowe Huntley, who just like Carrie has something to prove before he takes retirement once and for all.

So does Carrie still has it in her?

Can the duo leave their past behind and play an epic final season? 

“One of the great injustices of this rigged world we live in is that women are considered to be depleting with age and men are somehow deepening.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Carrie Soto is Back

My thoughts

There are not enough words for me to tell you how much I loved this book. I literally had a book hangover after reading it and couldn’t start another book for the next couple of days.

Full disclosure – I am a huge tennis fan, I watch grand slams on the television and one day do wish to catch them live too.

Coming back to the book, it’s true that we do get to watch a lot of sports drama on screen, but very few such dramas are consumed in the written fiction format. For most of them are sports memoirs or documentaries.

I am so glad that it was TJR (Taylor Jenkins Reid) who decided to fill this gap and write this book because just like all of her writing, this book too can be described using one simple word – brilliant! Like always, her writing is effortless and riveting. She always creates magic whenever she writes a story based on a character and Carrie Soto is Back is no exception to the case. It ranks as high as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo for me.

Contrary to what one would presume, Carrie is a very unlikeable character, but eventually, one can’t help but root for her in her comeback journey. She is unapologetic, flawed, dynamic, determined, and super focused in Tennis, as Tennis is all she has ever known.

This book is very heavy on tennis but even for non-watchers of the sport, it’s easy to comprehend and follow. TJR has included references to gender bias and aptly portrayed the female disparity in the narrative.

I especially loved the bond between Carrie and Javier who is a coach and father to her. It is Javier who tries his best esp. in her comeback, and who turns quite emotional when he just wanted to be her father than a coach.

On the other hand, Carrie’s dedication to the sport and her love for the game is so inspiring to read. Coming to the other significant character, Bowe is this strong emotional background support that never wavers even when things aren’t reciprocated. His journey to prove himself before finally retiring was equally gripping and captivating.

This book by TJR is once again a character-driven novel just like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and will always be one of my all-time favourites. I have the eBook version on my Kindle and now I can’t wait to add the paperback edition to my library. I am sure, you too, cannot wait to dig into this delicious read.

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