10 books like Upright Women Wanted

By Sarah Gailey,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Upright Women Wanted. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Empress of Salt and Fortune

By Nghi Vo,

Book cover of The Empress of Salt and Fortune

This truly lovely historical novella is set in a fantastical version of ancient China and incorporates mythology that I’m certain I didn’t completely understand. However, the bittersweet tale, told by a former handmaiden named Rabbit to a traveling cleric, is gorgeous enough to stand without any background knowledge. This is a tale I will return to more than once, for its compelling story and nostalgic tone.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune

By Nghi Vo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Empress of Salt and Fortune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2020 Crawford Award!
Winner of the 2021 Hugo Award!
A Hugo Award-Winning Series!

A 2021 Locus Award Finalist
A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist

"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful... The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."―NPR

A 2020 ALA Booklist Top Ten SF/F Debut | A Book Riot Must-Read Fantasy of 2020 | A Paste Most Anticipated Novel of 2020 | A Library Journal Debut of the Month | A Buzzfeed Must-Read Fantasy Novel of Spring 2020 | A Washington Post Best SFF…


The Ten Thousand Doors of January

By Alix E. Harrow,

Book cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Most people I know have already read the classics of portal fantasy—The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Tunnel in the Sky, John Carter of Mars.

But few have read the new breed of portal fantasy novelists—and let me tell, they are phenomenal.

Starting with this story by Alix E. Harrow which so skillfully takes characters from the same time period as the classics—the early- to mid-1900s—and masterfully weaves them into adventures that take readers in a new direction.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January has everything you love about The Chronicles of Narnia. A troubled young child—in this case adopted by a rich aristocrat—a cruel villain, and noble animals in great danger…

And, of course, a doorway to another world.

Ten thousand of them!

Harrow’s worlds aren’t covered in ice, but are full of sun and sailing and distant treasures. The wind on your…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

By Alix E. Harrow,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Ten Thousand Doors of January as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers, and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting."—Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER! Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely…


Grave Mercy

By Robin Lafevers,

Book cover of Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I

Set in the mid-1400s in France, this series starter contains action, court intrigue, romance, and assassin nuns! I read it years ago and it remains a favorite, not only for the beautiful language, but for the strong heroine, Ismae, and her journey from following the rules and doing as she’s been told, to learning how to discern right from wrong and follow the guidance of her own moral compass. This is a book I would love to watch as a movie, not only for the action, but the costumes.

Grave Mercy

By Robin Lafevers,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Grave Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
     Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high…


The Ghost Bride

By Yangsze Choo,

Book cover of The Ghost Bride

This unique setting (Malaysia in the late 1800s) was highlighted by the addition of fantastical elements—a spirit world layered over the “real” world, which is as real and corrupt as the one where our heroine, Li Lan, finds herself. Her struggles to find and fall in love, as well as her desire to save her home, created an unputdownable book. The romance is subtle, but sweet, and a perfect juxtaposition to some of the horrors Li Lan must endure on her spiritual journey.

The Ghost Bride

By Yangsze Choo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ghost Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A haunting, evocative and highly unusual romantic debut and now a Netflix Mandarin original drama premiering January 2020!

Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890s Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition - the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he's dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife - a world of ghost cities,…


If You Could Be Mine

By Sara Farizan,

Book cover of If You Could Be Mine

I remember well how starved I was as a teen for books about kids like me—queer, Cuban, or both—so I love books that fill a void. Sara Farizan does that with Iranian girls Sahar and Nasrin, including a swoony kiss you won’t want to miss. For anyone who’s ever had sparks with a friend, this is an extra special read.

If You Could Be Mine

By Sara Farizan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Could Be Mine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They've shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love--Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light. So they carry on in secret--until Nasrin's parents announce that they've arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they had before, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively--and openly. Then Sahar…


Late to the Party

By Kelly Quindlen,

Book cover of Late to the Party

A contemporary YA novel, this book will still appeal to all the adults who can remember what it was like trying to figure out who you were as a teenager, how your friends fit into your life, and what it means to shake things up but still maintain who you are at your core. Main character, Codi Teller, is lucky to have two very close friends by her side through it all, but she develops an additional, unexpected friendship with cool kid, Ricky, when she stumbles upon him kissing another boy at a party. Ricky brings Codi into his world full of new experiences, late nights, and a cute girl named Lydia who Codi definitely has a crush on. 

Late to the Party

By Kelly Quindlen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Late to the Party as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From author Kelly Quindlen comes a poignant and deeply relatable story about friendship, self-acceptance, and what it means to be a Real Teenager. Late to the Party is an ode to late bloomers and wallflowers everywhere.

Seventeen is nothing like Codi Teller imagined.

She’s never crashed a party, never stayed out too late. She’s never even been kissed. And it’s not just because she’s gay. It’s because she and her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory, spend more time in her basement watching Netflix than engaging with the outside world.

So when Maritza and JaKory suggest crashing a party, Codi…


Some Girls Do

By Jennifer Dugan,

Book cover of Some Girls Do

Dugan is one of my absolute favorite authors of queer YA, and this romance between out-and-proud track star Morgan and closeted Ruby is a perfect illustration why, merging a fun high school setting and passionate main characters with the very relevant situation of managing your public level of queerness. It’s thoughtful and sweet, romantic and funny, and above all, real. 

Some Girls Do

By Jennifer Dugan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Some Girls Do as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this YA contemporary queer romance from the author of Hot Dog Girl, an openly gay track star falls for a closeted, bisexual teen beauty queen with a penchant for fixing up old cars. Now available in paperback!

Morgan, an elite track athlete, is forced to transfer high schools late in her senior year after it turns out being queer is against her private Catholic school's code of conduct. There, she meets Ruby, who has two hobbies: tinkering with her baby blue 1970 Ford Torino and competing in local beauty pageants, the latter to live out the dreams of her…


Last Night at the Telegraph Club

By Malinda Lo,

Book cover of Last Night at the Telegraph Club

I’ve been reading Malinda Lo for over a decade, but this is my all-time favorite of hers. Last Night at the Telegraph Club is set in 1950s San Francisco, during the Red Scare, and has a coming-of-age plot with a Chinese American girl (Lily) falling in love with her white baby butch classmate (Kath). Lily wants to work in STEM, which is almost as impossible as her budding sapphic desires for an interracial relationship. The titular Telegraph Club is a lesbian bar where Lily and Kath find people like them—representation that’s still precious and revelatory, even 70 years later. 

This is the only book on the list that doesn’t have a fantastical bent, but you won’t miss it, because the 50s were weird enough. It’s a beautiful Bildungsroman that made me grateful for the societal progress we’ve made, but it’s also a warning about how governments still use paranoia and…

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

By Malinda Lo,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Last Night at the Telegraph Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall…


Honey Girl

By Morgan Rogers,

Book cover of Honey Girl

A beautiful and engaging look at a woman named Grace Porter who surprises herself and those around her when she marries a woman she barely knows during a girls’ Vegas trip. The reason I love this book is the way Grace’s friends support her when she makes a decision she barely understands, but they’re with her regardless of wherever this journey will ultimately lead. A group of people whose expectations are not the determination of their love for you is one of the things for which we all yearn.

Honey Girl

By Morgan Rogers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Honey Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Oprah Magazine * Marie Claire * Ms. Magazine * E! * Parade Magazine * Buzzfeed * Cosmo * The Rumpus * GoodReads * Autostraddle * Brit & Co * Refinery29 * Betches * BookRiot and others!

A LibraryReads Pick
 
“HONEY GIRL is an emotional, heartfelt, charming debut, and I loved every moment of it.”
— Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal

When becoming an adult means learning to love yourself first.

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas…


Seven Moves

By Carol Anshaw,

Book cover of Seven Moves

Christine Snow is a therapist who has her shit together, or does she? When her girlfriend vanishes, it becomes apparent to Chris that, on an emotional level, Taylor was never really there to begin with. Anshaw’s use of a third-person limited point of view and a present tense narrative creates a sense of breathless intimacy. If you’re looking for a thriller, look elsewhere. Seven Moves is a well-observed mediation on the inherent unknowability of an intimate partner. Anshaw does obsession like no one else. 

Seven Moves

By Carol Anshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Moves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christine Snow, a Chicago therapist, has at last returned from the margins of her past - a card-sharp father, too many wrong lovers - into comfortable urban domesticity with Taylor Hayes, a travel photographer. The two women share a house, a dog, a life. And then one morning after a minor argument, Taylor disappears, Chris's anger turns to alarm as time passes and still she hears nothing, until she falls across a clue as unsettling in itself as Taylor's disappearance. Following a trail that leads to Morocco and home again, Seven Moves tracks Chris's gradual realisation that one can never…


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