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Upright Women Wanted

Lauren Kohlenberg

November 20, 2020

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This near-future novella highlights an American Southwest that is riddled with bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah GaileyI just finished Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. If you’re looking for an action-packed, quick read, this is a great choice.

This near-future novella highlights an American Southwest that is riddled with bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies.

After watching her best friend and secret love, Beatriz, meet her demise for possessing resistance propaganda, Esther finds herself narrowly escaping an arranged marriage by hiding in a Librarian’s book wagon. There’s no place for outliers in society, so Esther has spent her entire life burying who she truly is. But when she joins the Librarians on their treks, she realizes that maybe there are others like her out there.

The trio of Librarians who allow Esther passage maintain their Upright Identities by appearing to enforce the restrictive social order while secretly distributing “Unapproved Materials” in each town they pass through.


In Upright Women Wanted, Gailey expertly explores the idea of otherness, and what lengths those who live on the margins go to just to make it through unscathed. Their writing perfectly illustrates the journey to finding identity through trial, confidence amidst fear, and hope despite uncertainty. This Western-set, dystopian novella is chock full of action, suspense, and a good dash of LGBTQ+ romance. It is a wonderful reminder that no matter how lost you feel, there’s always hope, and adventure, on the horizon.

About The Author

Lauren Kohlenberg loves Lake Michigan, homemade croissants, and her dog Mia. She is a Jeopardy! enthusiast, podcast-lover, and pastry connoisseur. Lauren has always been an avid reader and loves everything from poetry to fantasy. Outside of work, she makes time for fitness, writing, and traveling. She runs a thriving baking Instagram, loves a good literary pun, and she will always ask about your dog.

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