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My entire life’s work rests on the outcome of this match.

From the opening sentence, Carrie Soto is Back, draws the reader into heartstopping games of tennis, into back-breaking practices, and Carrie’s strive for greatness. Carrie is not a sport personality that tries to be liked; she has trained for this her whole life, and she isn’t here to pander to the fans or even to partake in good sportmanship. She is here to win. 

Carrie Soto is fierce, determined and the best tennis player the world has seen. Six years after her retirement, she watches her records being beaten by a british player. Without her records, she is nothing, and Carrie Soto refuses to be anything but the best. Carrie decides she is coming out of retirement for one final season – despite the fact that she is thirty seven, no one has ever liked her, and her body won’t move as fast as she wants it to. 

Trained by her father Javier since she was two, Carrie has lived and breathed tennis her whole life. Now though, there is no space for anything but winning. Forced to ignore her pride, Carrie must train with Bowe Huntley, the man she almost allowed into her heart years before. At the heart of the novel is Carrie’s relationship with her father. He raised, trained her, and is her closest confidente. 

The story grapples with female ambition, with sexism in sports, with the unyeilding need to be the best, and it does it very well. Watching Carrie grow and learn, aiming towards self-fulfillment as she learns to let go of the game that shaped her life could have as come across as cheesy or predictable, but Reid, as always, is a master storyteller, and pulls the reader into the narrative until they are gasping at the tennis matches, and cheering Carrie on as she completes this final season.