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Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Don’t miss out on this incredible tennis story!
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Carrie Soto Is Back, written by Taylor Jenkins Reid, is a novel about a retired tennis player who comes out of retirement to reclaim her world record. Even if you aren’t a fan of tennis, this book is still a beautiful story of a father and daughter relationship, with characters unlike anything I’ve ever read before. 

Carrie Soto is described as very competitive and the first of her kind. The book is set in the 1960’s and 70’s, where women tennis players were supposed to be beautiful, quiet, and humble. So when a cocky, blunt, and competitive player like Carrie starts playing tennis, many people don’t like her.
The story starts with a retired Carrie attending a tennis match with her father and tennis coach, Javier Soto. They watch Nicki Chan win a Grand Slam event (a term for a major professional tennis tournament), which puts her one slam away from taking Carrie’s record of twenty total titles. 

Then we flash back to Carrie’s childhood. That’s when we learn why she loves tennis so much. Her father spent his whole life playing tennis, and after a few injuries, he became a coach at a country club. Carrie always wanted to play tennis, even as a baby, and she would watch father play for hours. 

The story follows Carries as she is growing up. She practices tennis every day after school with her father. And when she is eleven, she plays her first match against a 14-year-old, where she loses. After that, she knows she never wants to lose again. 

After Carrie joins the tennis world tour and starts to gain traction because of how good she is, people start calling her the Axe. Many people think she is arrogant, often telling her opponents they are bad at tennis. She never makes any friends, and she is always focused on winning.

Later in her career, Carrie struggles to accept a loss in tennis. She wants her father to teach her more and become better, but he tells her that she should slow down and that it’s okay if she isn’t the best. Carrie then fires her father as a coach, telling him,  “I was born to be the greatest tennis player ever.” 

Carrie is so focused on winning that she forgets why she loves tennis in the first place. She and her father lose contact for ten years before she retires, as the greatest tennis player in the world. 

The backstory of the novel shows us who Carrie Soto is and the complicated relationship she has with her father. This was very realistic, because even though her father is the only parent she has, their relationship still has its ups and down. 

The best character in the novel is Carrie, because she isn’t the average book character that you’ve read about a hundred times. Just when you think you know what she’s about to say, she says the opposite. Carrie makes me feel like I can say whatever I want, and not just what I think what other people want to hear. 

My favorite moment in the novel is when Carrie is playing in the Wimbledon tournament, because just for a short time, she forgets about winning and taking back her world record and just has fun. This really affected me, because after reading about it, I wanted to go outside and play tennis with my dad.

The ending of the book is also really satisfying, because Carrie remembers why she loves to play tennis, before she was Carrie Soto, the greatest tennis player of all time, when she was just a kid playing tennis with her father.

Overall, this is a beautiful-written story about so much more than tennis. It’s a girl’s journey that features both loss and acceptance. There is so much more to this book than it seems, and I think more people should read it. 

You can find Carrie Soto Is Back now on Amazon or at your local library!

 

About the Contributor
Evie Richardson, Staff Writer
Evie is a freshman at Glendale High School. She is a new member of the journalism class and has been a part of the JDL for nine years. She enjoys reading and painting.
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