Review: Upright Women Wanted

Title: Upright Women Wanted
Author: Sarah Gailey
Release date: February 4th, 2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


“In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.”


This is a short story that packs a punch. Gailey introduces us into this western world that is in a near-future America. The librarians operate to bring Approved Materials to different outposts, but they have other goals.This story follows the subversive, queer, antifascists librarians as they pick up a “package” to drop off elsewhere. Esther stows away in the librarians’ cart with the hope of becoming a librarian. She had run away from an arranged marriage, after her lover had been hanged for possession of Unapproved Materials. She finds out the librarians are queer, like her, and that there’s many more people across the country that are like them.

I would’ve loved to dive more into the story and these characters, but Gailey does a great job at giving us enough to get us hooked into the story. There’s so much more that could be done with this amazing premise and I want it to keep going pls.

(Additional enjoyment of this book came from the fact that I’m currently a librarian-in-training as I’m doing my MLIS, so yeah, I’m feelin pretty badass about my career choice)

*ARC received through NetGalley for honest review*


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