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Outlawed

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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  22,062 ratings  ·  3,159 reviews
The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. B
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 5th 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,062 ratings  ·  3,159 reviews


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_ngallagher
Jan 10, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was fun but I can’t help feeling like I didn’t get all the answers I wanted by the end :-/ definitely want to read more westerns now though!
emma
queer feminist gang of outcast women in the Wild West = the book i never knew i needed

(thanks to the publisher for the ARC)
Angela M
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.

“In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.” That opening line pulled me in and the writing held me there the rest of the way. This is not your typical western, nor is it a factual account of the Hole in the Wall Gang . If you’re looking for truly realistic historical fiction, this isn’t it . It’s an imagined, alternate version of history, which while at times seemed a little out there, I found it to be thought provoking and interesting. Religion of the day is the bel
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Jessica Woodbury
3.5 stars. I think this is one of those books that suffered somewhat because I had a different vision for it than the author did. And that's okay, but I suspect some other readers will have a similar feeling.

It's a Speculative Western, set in an alternate America where a massive flu wiping out much of the population has led to a heavy lean into fertility patriarchy, making women with fertility issues cast out at best and victims of horrible vengeance and violence at worst. Our protagonist, Ada,
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Miranda N.  Benson
This book is like an under seasoned meal: it’s fine, it’s edible, it has all the right ingredients. But it’s just...not good.

My issues arose early, particularly with the narrative voice: while it has a few fun moments (“in the year of our lord 1984, I became an outlaw” works perfectly in context), those moments are overshadowed by monotonous exposition. There are too many “my ma once said” and “when I was a little girl” stories for my liking.

Part of the reason this doesn’t work for me is becau
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Brandice
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
It’s 1894 and after a year of marriage and failure to get pregnant, Ada is forced to leave her hometown under suspicions of being a (barren) witch. She spends a little time in a convent then moves on to join the Hole in the Wall Gang, a group of outcast women, displaced from their various hometowns for suspicions of witchcraft or other frowned upon reasons.

The gang gets by through robberies and set jobs under the leadership of The Kid, a former preacher. They devise a big plan to change their w
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Diane S ☔
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
When I first started reading, having not read the book summary, I thought it was a post apocalyptic story. Had the beginning feel of the Hand Maidens tale of other as such. I then turned to the books summary and saw it was set in the late 1800's, a time when women had little power of their own and superstition was rife.

There is much to like in this story: characters that one grows to care about, a fast paced story and women who seize their own destiny in unusual ways.

It was also a mix up of genr
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Debbie
Hot diggity, this is a kick!

And so original! It grabbed me from the get-go and I became almost manic. I was ready to throw all my slow and plodding stories of contemporary angst and tragedy right out the window. I like weird and I like wild, and this book delivers both. I was so excited to see where this bizarre story was going—and I was shaking my head in awe as I witnessed this author’s huge imagination. Meanwhile, I can’t believe I read a western! I would have put money on that never happeni
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Ron Charles
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
It still surprises me that some of my favorite novels are westerns. It no longer surprises me that they’re written by women. The territory once dominated by Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour has long since been opened up by Paulette Jiles, Mary Doria Russell, Molly Gloss and other women who have cut fresh trails in this old genre.

The latest foray comes from Anna North, a reporter for Vox. Her new novel, “Outlawed,” stirs up the western with a provocative blend of alt-history and feminist consciousness
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Cheri

4.5 Stars

At the age of seventeen, Ada has learned the art of midwifery from her mother, the midwife in the Town of Fairchild, and has been taught the female rules of ’lying with our husbands, how we should wash beforehand, and put perfume behind our ears, how we should breathe slowly to relax our muscles, and try to look our husbands in the eyes.’ Soon after her school days are over, she is married to a young man and the waiting begins, as everyone expects her to soon be bearing their first chil
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Esil
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I was excited when I realized that the author of Outlawed also wrote The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, which I loved. Outlawed did not wow me in the same way. It felt uneven. It is set in the late 19th century in what seems to be the southwestern United States in a community where women are labelled as witches if they don’t have children. At 19, Ada is banished from her family and community because she still has not had a baby after a year of marriage. She finds her way to a group of other wom ...more
Brigitte Dale
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
The concept of Outlawed is wonderfully creative—a reimagined American West in which women and gender-fluid outcasts band together as law-breaking cowboys. The execution, however, left something to be desired. Falling flat from its initial promise, the novel is predictable and slow. There are too many characters, such that none of them make a particularly strong impression, and even the protagonist, a midwife, is lackluster and bland. I really wanted to love this book—the LGBTQ themes, the dystop ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
I was just bitching like two seconds ago in another review that blurbs comparing a book to others generally miss the mark, but True Grit meets The Crucible????



That’s actually pretty spot on.

I also keep seeing this book referred to as “dystopian.” To all of you who used that phrase, allow me to quote my former beau Inigo Montoya and state . . . .



The first effing line of the book (which was a good ‘un) is . . .

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw

I guess if painted with a
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Steph
outlawed is a fascinating alternate-history western adventure. it's set in the 1890s southwest, and our protagonist, ada, lives in a culture that worships baby jesus and prizes fertility, pregnancy, and childbearing above all else.

i decided to read Upright Women Wanted and outlawed in quick succession, because i'm super interested in the possibility of alternative westerns as an emerging genre. these two books do have quite a bit in common, and they both star a naive young woman who joins a subv
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Connor
Jan 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: owned-not-tbr, dnf
DNF’d on page 118 specifically.

Until that point, I was willing to overlook a lot.
There are a lot of strange gender and gendering decisions, especially when there is a character in the synopsis who is not a man or a woman. A character that I don’t think was handled all that well, as far as I got.
I was sold this book on the idea that it was going to be a gang of barren women and genderqueer people, so that it was all these people who are harmed by “being able to bear children” being the definit
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Celeste
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Outlawed is an alternate history in which a Great Flu wiped out 9/10ths of the U.S. population, the country fell apart, and now a woman who can’t pop out babies to rebuild that population is branded a witch and hanged. As a barren woman myself, this premise hit incredibly close to home for me. I loved seeing how all of these women dealt with such superstition and blatant inequality.
“People cry witchcraft whenever they don’t understand something.”

I’ve seen reviews calling this book a mix of The
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Sarah Jayyn
description

🤠🤠🤠🤠 (Four stars as rated in emojis wearing cowboy hats)

I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Holy smokes. I feel both satisfied and completely heartbroken by this book. What an emotionally turbulent journey I just went on!
For this book, we venture into the alternate timeline of the North American West, in which women are accused of witchcraft for being barren and, sometimes even for the barrenness of others. When
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Carol
Nov 19, 2020 added it
How does a young, contented bride, one with a penchant for midwifery, end up an outlaw?

Thanks to the generosity of Bloomsbury Publishing, Author Anna North and Edelweiss, I was able to find the answer. Due to be published January 5, 2021, get yourself on the list.

If the cover doesn't grab your attention just read the first few pages. Westerns featuring female protagonists are generally my cup of tea. Outlawed one was one heck of a good steep brewing to a satisfying end.
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Meagan (Meagansbookclub)
I’m still debating on 3 or 3.5 ⭐️ because I read it cover to cover in 24hrs, so I do think there is something to be said that I couldn’t put it down. I think this book tried to do too much? I’m not really even sure what my thought process is right now.

The writing and story development was definitely stronger at the beginning to just over the halfway point, but the ending felt rushed and fell flat.

The story of Ada was captivating. I enjoyed the reminder of how brutal this time period was for wom
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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
In an alternate 1894, a flu outbreak has wiped out the majority of the U.S. population and leaves survivors praising baby Jesus who is certain to continue to spare them if they live righteously and procreate. Girls are raised to understand that their purpose is to marry and have as many children as possible. If for some reason a woman cannot get pregnant, she’s useless at best or a witch at worst. If she loses her pregnancy or has a baby with defects, it must certainly be the witchcraft of a bar ...more
Lisa Wolf
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

In Outlawed, we meet 17-year-old Ada at what should be the start of a happy future. Newly married, she loves her husband and is enjoying a robust married life with him. Except she’s not getting pregnant. As the months go by, the pressure mounts, until finally, after a year of marriage, she’s kicked out by her in-laws.

Being barren is considered the utmost failure for a woman, and failing to conceive is always considered the woman’s fault. Maybe it’s her family background? Maybe it’s pun
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BookNightOwl
Dec 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
I want thank Netgalley and Bloomsbury for providing a copy of Outlawed by Anna North in exchange for an honest review.

As 17 year old Ada gets married she becomes extremely happy to part of this group. But as her marriage goes further and further into the months she realizes she isn't getting pregnant. Which Barren women are usually at fault. They are accused of witchcraft and usually imprisoned or hung. Adas husbands family finally kicks her out and she runs away with the Kid and the Hole in the
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Renae
TOXIC WHITE FEMINISM

For a book that markets itself as a subversive alt-history tale, Outlawed is screamingly reductive, gender essentialist, and trans exclusionary. This book is the very definition of White Feminism, and it uses Black and queer women as set dressing and props for the cishet white protagonist’s own journey. In 2021, one would hope that a book whose stated purpose is to provide feminist social commentary would be able to offer a sensitive, intersectional view of its proposed topic
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R
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story was definitely not what I was expecting. But the unexpectedness was refreshingly good and very interesting.

The story took place in 1894. This was a time when superstitions were held as truth and innocent lives were taken because of it.This was also a time when young girls who reached a certain age were expected to marry and quickly have babies. Any females that couldn’t get pregnant were looked at with suspicion and scrutinized. Any deviation that occurred during this time such as st
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Laura • lauralovestoread
3.5 stars!

It definitely took me a few days to process this one, and overall I really enjoyed it. For starters it took me out of my comfort zone with being a “western dystopian” which is a genre that I’ve never read before.

I loved that it was a twist on traditional ideals of the “Wild West” and instead brought a band of women outcasts meets The Handmaids Tale that takes place after the big Flu epidemic of the 1800s.

I’m a sucker for any story involving female friendships and strong women, but desp
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♥ Sandi ❣
3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsburg Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book. Publishes January 5, 2021

A twist on the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. This one is all women outlaws. Some undercover disguised as men, while some, dressed roughly, maintain a female composure. Most have found this calling due to being unable to bare a child. Some are forced to this situation, since barren women are considered witches and are hung, others went looking for a place to feel wanted.

In a di
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Erin Cataldi
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
The opening line, "In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw," sets the tone for this unique and adventurous western novel. At 17, Ada marries her sweetheart and all is well in the world until she fails to conceive a child within a year. Forced to flee her village due to rumors and accusations of witchcraft; she hides in a convent passing the time transcribing medical books. Unable to keep still, she runs away to find the Hole in the Wall Gang where she joins The Kid and her merry band of ...more
Lisa-Books Smiles
Jan 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
DNF at 50% - I just could not force myself to continue reading.
Althea
3.5/5 Stars

This is a really tricky book to review - on the one hand I really enjoyed the story, the plot and the characters, but on the other I found it slightly underdeveloped.

Outlawed is set in an alternate-history America and follows Ada who, after getting kicked out by her mother in law for not being able to have children and subsequently being branded a witch, goes on the run to become a nun to avoid being prosecuted. After studying childbirth and complications therein, Ada decides to leave
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Rebecca
(3.5) I was a huge fan of North’s previous novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, which cobbles together the story of the title character, a bisexual filmmaker, from accounts by the people who knew her best. Outlawed, an alternative history/speculative take on the traditional Western, could hardly be more different. In a subtly different version of the United States, everyone now alive in the 1890s is descended from those who survived a vicious 1830s flu epidemic. The duty to repopulate the ...more
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Anna North is a novelist and journalist. She is the author of the novels America Pacifica (2011), The Life and Death of Sophie Stark (2015), and Outlawed (forthcoming with Bloomsbury, January 2021). She has been a writer and editor at Jezebel, BuzzFeed, Salon, and the New York Times, and is now a senior reporter at Vox.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
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