cover image Upright Women Wanted

Upright Women Wanted

Sarah Gailey., $20.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-21358-7

Gailey (Magic for Liars) pits librarian spies against the oppressive government of a future Southwestern America in this dazzling neo-western adventure. After Esther Augustus’s best friend and crush Beatriz is executed for possessing unapproved reading materials, Esther’s father, the superintendent of the Lower Southwest Territory, arranges for a political marriage between Esther and Beatriz’s fiancé. Esther flees by stowing away in the caravan of the Librarians, state employees who distribute approved literature to isolated towns. Once discovered, Esther is shocked to learn that the Librarians are actually a hotbed of queer subversion: stern Bet and motherly Leda are a long-term lesbian couple, and their cranky apprentice, Cye, is nonbinary. The Librarians agree to take Esther to Utah, an insurrectionist camp, after picking up a “package” of other refugees. Along the way, Esther grows disillusioned with the homophobic government propaganda she’s read all her life and develops feelings for Cye. During a brazen attempt to prove herself useful to the Librarians, Esther stumbles upon frightening information about one of the refugees they’re escorting, plunging them all into danger. Gailey’s gorgeous writing and authentic characters make this slim volume a pure delight. Readers will relish this showcase of Gailey’s striking talents. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Feb.)