Friday, April 2, 2021

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

I had Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey on my reading wishlist for quite a while. I finally read the ebook edition of this novella last month during Women's History Month.

I really enjoyed reading Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. It's described as a 'pulp western' novella by the author and is set in the USA in the near future after society has collapsed into a military state. 

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey deals with queer identity and how fascism/fascist governments can control the flow of information within a society, etc. This novella focuses mainly on queer identity and what that means for the main character, Esther Augustus. Esther is a young woman who runs away to escape being forced into an arranged marriage by her father to an older man she does not love. 

To make matters worse, Esther has witnessed the hanging of her secret lover, Beatriz. Beatriz was hung for deviance and for possession of unapproved materials prior to the start of Upright Women Wanted. Before Beatriz had been hung, she had been betrothed to the older man that Esther found herself betrothed to after Beatriz's public hanging. 

Esther becomes a stowaway on a wagon belonging to the female librarians that deliver approved reading material by the state throughout the region. These female librarians are considered to be morally upright women. Esther feels shameful about her queer identity based on the approved reading material she has read over the years about queer identity. She is hoping to become a morally upright woman like the librarians. Little does Esther know what's really in store for her. Let's just say, Esther has a change in perspective by the end of Upright Women Wanted!!

Below is a 54 minute video I discovered on YouTube where the author, Sarah Gailey, reads the 1st chapter of Upright Women Wanted. Sarah also discusses how she came to write Upright Women Wanted. I thoroughly enjoy hearing authors discuss their books/writing, so I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I did.

Below is the plot summary for Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey from Amazon:
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.
I am giving Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. I had not heard of this one but it sounds good!

    1. It was definitely a good read. I don't read many books that fall into the western genre and have only read a few lgbtq themed reads sporadically over the years. So, it was good to read books from other genres.