Esther just watched her best friend die. Beatriz was found to be in possession of “inappropriate” materials, and for that she was hanged in the town square. Esther’s father spoke from the podium about the dangers of “deviance” all the while keeping his eyes locked on Esther.
Beatriz’s death was a warning to Esther, and so she ran. She stowed away in the Librarians’ supply wagon. Luckily for Esther that they were in town supplying the other residents with materials that support “correct education” and Approved Materials to read, watch and listen to. Esther hopes to join them, these “Morally Upright Women.” She thinks that if she can join them, they will help her overcome the “deviance” that her father recognized and that scares her terribly.
Esther will learn, however, while she travels with the Librarians, that most things are not as they seem. That the world is much bigger, more interesting, and, importantly, more accepting than she originally believed. And while she may have joined for the wrong reasons, she may find out that a life with the Librarians is the right one for her.
In Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey, author of River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow (man-eating hippo mayhem!) and last year’s excellent Magic For Liars, spins a tale of the American Southwest repopulated with many traditional tropes of a classic Western, with just a bit of a twist. This tale is in the future, not the past, and there are as many women riding the horses, brawling and participating in the shootouts as there are men doing these things. And some of these women you don’t dare call “ma’am.”
Upright Women Wanted, like River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, is a spirited adventure combined with a coming of age story in which a young woman attempts to run away from a life she doesn’t want, only to find one she never dreamed possible. This is a quick but wonderful read.
Interview with the author is here.