My third 5-star book for 2023: “Carrie Soto is Back” was written by Taylor Jenkins Reid. You may recognize her from her other bestsellers, “Daisy Jones and the Six” and “Malibu Rising.” I was one of the few people who didn’t love Daisy...I found the book OK and liked it, but it wasn’t one that I would read again. I liked “Malibu Rising” alittle better because I found myself connecting with the characters more. But by far, I think Carrie Soto is the best of the three. Carrie Soto is the world’s best tennis player. Period. Male or female, she’s won the most Grand Slams in the history of tennis, and at 32, she retires with a heap of money and a winning record. Only it’s not enough for her. She has to STAY the best! That fierce attitude led the media to dub her “the Battle Axe” right from the beginning of her career. Carrie says what she’s thinking, taunting her opponents, taking no prisoners; in her mind, she put in the work to get to where she’s at, and if others fall short, that’s on them. She’s just points it out. Five years later, Nicki Chan becomes the newest rising tennis star, threatening to take over Carrie’s record. And Carrie is not having it, so at 37, Carrie Soto is back! Bragging she’ll become the oldest woman ever to win a slam tournament and keep her record, she’s willing to do what it takes. But not everyone is happy about her coming out of retirement. Her nickname quickly evolves from “the Battle Axe” into “the Bitch.” Her old attitude seems to be back too, but with age comes wisdom, and she starts to question whether it’s all been worth it. She has a strained relationship with her dad, her only parent and original coach (and my favorite character) whom she fired to reach the top. She has a string of one-night-stands but no partner. Her only friend is her agent. Without being the best, without winning, who is she? Unlike the other Reid books, I can say I loved this story. Carrie reminded me alittle of Scarlett O’Hara; she was a hard woman, but strong, fierce, and blunt. It was fun to read how Carrie evolved as she grew older. Adjusting to an aging body that wasn’t as fast as it once was, asking the hard questions of her core personality, these are challenges we all face, and Carrie finds a great ending to her story. I also liked the other supporting characters as well, especially her dad. Plus, it takes place in the 90s with plenty of references to tennis greats like John McEnroe and Boris Becker. And Reid’s other books and characters from “Daisy Jones and the Six” and “Malibu Rising” even have a place in this story. It's really fun! I definitely recommend this book!
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