Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey | Book Review

June 17th – 21st

Upright Women Wanted is the second short book I sought out when trying to get myself back into reading this summer. The book clocks in at 176 pages, and has a lot of LGBTQ+ representation.

Sometime in the future (we’re not sure how far in the future), the United States as we know it doesn’t exist, and seems to have gone backwards in terms of what is and isn’t available. Only approved documents can be read, and it’s the job of the Librarians to bring them along. We follow our main character, Esther, who’s a stowaway in a Librarian’s cart, trying to escape an unwanted marriage and outrun the painful memories she has of her best friend’s death.

Through this we meet the group of Librarians she’s traveling with, who at first do not trust her, and learn to accept her into their group.

The book is extremely short, and it’s tough not to give anything away in a review, so from here down there will be spoilers:

I loved the representation that the Librarians gave, showing Esther that there’s all different types of relationships (and people) than the ones in the approved materials she’s been given her whole life. The Librarians themselves do more than bring approved materials from town to town, and help people who need to escape for being hated for who they are, similar to Esther.

I found Cye’s character to be the best part of the book, and loved the way they were described. I believe this was one of the first non-binary characters I’ve read in a book, and definitely one where that was brought to the surface in a conversation as directly as it was.

A lot was packed into this small book, and it did a really great job of throwing the reader into the world and taking them along for the ride. However, balancing world-building in books like this is extremely difficult, and I did find myself wishing that there was just a bit more in terms of the futuristic aspect of the book. I could see more books set in this world being really successful, and talking about other aspects of the culture that’s been created.

Sarah Gailey has written several other books that I’m interested, and Magic for Liars has definitely been added to my TBR for later this year.

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