Carrie Soto is like other sports novels in which underdogs punch, volley, bat and birdie their way to victory or additional defeat, but it goes beyond this to explore sexism and racism in the tennis world in the 1990s. Yes, things have changed since then. No, that doesn’t make Carrie’s story feel dated or read like a polemic ... Even if you’re not a tennis fan, this novel will grab you. You’ll tear through blow-by-blow descriptions of championship matches on some of the most famous tennis courts in the world. Equally entrancing is the audio version. Close your eyes and your head will move right and left, and left and right, as you envision the racket-breaking matches between Carrie and her rivals ... Carrie Soto’s deep dive into women’s tennis may be the most ambitious. It’s the perfect novel to close out your summer, and whether Carrie defeats Nicki Chan is almost secondary.
Soto...loves the game with such ferocity it could turn even the least athletic-minded reader into a fan despite her deep personality flaws ... Soto is paired with a cast of complex, determined opponents ... A must-read for Reid fans, Williams fans and ambitious women everywhere ... Reid's writing is extraordinary in its empathy for women navigating uncharted fame and success ... Following the mental trajectory of a certified champion like Soto is endlessly fascinating and makes the book impossible to put down.
First, there will be tennis. Carrie Soto Is Back contains an abundance of it and the sports writing glitters. It has a good balance of on-court action and summaries as well as occasional interjections from the media, giving readers a sense of the public perception of Carrie and her game ... Though she isn’t exactly a loveable heroine, Carrie Soto Is Back is the kind of magnetic, immersive book readers have come to adore from Taylor Jenkins Reid. Like Carrie Soto or not, before long, you’ll be rooting for her both on and off the court.
The sport has never interested me ... But when Taylor Jenkins Reid writes a book about tennis, I’m interested. She knows how to draw you in, no matter what the story is about on the surface ... As with every other Jenkins Reid book I’ve read, I cried. Multiple times. In fact I sobbed. She fills her books with such raw human emotion, taking the harshest and most flawed characters and slamming them with challenges that reveal their deepest vulnerabilities ... This book is beautiful, and I insist you read it.
My first thought picking up this book was, naturally, whether people who don’t know much about tennis will want to read it, but the answer is absolutely yes. Reid does ask the reader to spend a lot of time on the courts ... But Reid is so good at underscoring that with clear characterisation and urgent storytelling that the sports stuff never feels overbearing, or even particularly sporty, just high stakes. It’s not the tennis we care about, but Carrie herself, which is quite a feat given that she is painted as the least likeable sports person ever ... Reid examines misogyny in the sport and the cost of ambition, while her characteristic lively style keeps the writing light and propulsive even when the themes are heavy ... This is some of Reid’s best writing: focused, colourful and compassionate. The question is not whether Carrie can win, but whether she can ever be happy.
Even non-tennis-playing readers will root hard for her to win, then cheer even harder for her to discover who she is without the sport ... Reid has written another knockout of a book. Public libraries will need multiple copies.
Reid captures the excitement of elite sports in her descriptions of Carrie’s games, as well as the struggle that women athletes face when their ambition and confidence is 'too much.' But the most affecting moments are when Carrie lets her guard down and shows the woman behind the myth ... It’s another triumph for best-selling author Reid, and her growing number of fans will be thrilled to see cameo appearances from characters from her earlier books.
Reid writes about the game with suspense, transforming a tennis match into a page-turner even for readers who don’t care about sports ... Reid has scored another victory and created another memorable heroine with Carrie Soto, a brash, often unlikable character whose complexity makes her leap off the page ... A compulsively readable look at female ambition.