Calling Out

Winner, Utah Book Award for Fiction

“Best Books of the Year” selection, The Chicago Tribune

“Must Read” selection, Entertainment Weekly

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection

Book Sense Notable Book

After being dumped by her boyfriend, Jane quits her job in New York City, drives west, and lands in Salt Lake City, where she takes a job answering phones at an escort agency. As Jane struggles to find companionship and purpose in her new surroundings, she mothers the escorts and flirts with callers. But the pull of mystery and danger is too great. Boundaries begin to blur, and Jane inches toward a place that would have once been unthinkable: she becomes an escort. Shifting between self-doubt and confidence, uncertainty and adrenaline, Jane descends into the lonely world of sexual commerce and discovers – through her “bad” behavior – a new sense of self. With convincing, atmospheric prose, Meadows captures both the landscape and politics of Utah, the ironies of America’s heartland, and reminds us that clarity and community can be found in the most unlikely places.

Praise & Reviews

“A stunning debut.”
– St. Petersburg Times


“A spare, addictive debut novel…Meadows captures her frazzled, antic characters and their world with such empathy and with such a keen reportorial eye that you could just about open your own escort agency after reading the novel.”


“Meadows displays strong narrative technique as she brings the disjointed culture of Mormon-ruled Salt Lake City and a group of disjointed 20-something Latter Day Sinners into high relief…A writer to watch.”
Kirkus Reviews


“Meadows presents the profession in all of its sad, banal, dangerous complexity.”
The Washington Post


“Beautifully written…Calling Out is filled with the insecure and the lonely…Meadows draws these characters full, and their ennui is like a collective sigh hanging over the narrative. They’re caught on the cusp of reckless youth and the reality of adulthood, waiting for an answer. For most, it never comes. This is why Calling Out is a good novel, and why it’s an important one.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer


“Meadows adroitly avoids prurience with her beautifully crafted novel about a woman who has lost her way…Satisfyingly complex.”
The Capital Times 


“Rae Meadows’s keen, often humorous take on living, loving, and moving on is like a glass of cold water after a long run. Deeply satisfying.”
Marie Claire


For those who enjoy books in which the pages seem to turn on their own, Calling Out is the book for you. Highly recommended.”
Book Reporter


“A terrific debut from a strong author, a brave female voice.”
Venus Magazine


“A book that is entirely heartfelt, funny, and uncommon in the best of ways.”
The Daily Iowan


“Meadows intersperses moments of beauty and stillness among the sordidness…A small book with a powerful topic, Calling Out is almost dangerously revealing…A well-written first novel, this reader looks forward to her next.”
– The Battalion


“Calling Out is a provocative and page-turning debut novel that captures the landscape and cultural contradiction in an unlikely place for starting over, but one, for Jane, more forgiving that what she’s left behind.”
– Jill Lamar, Director, Discover Great New Writers


“Rae Meadows’s novel is a sexy, confident, totally winning debut. She has a hunter’s eye for any weak spots in the sides of her characters’ speech or appearance or ethics. Even more fun for us, she brings the sordid world of the escort business into affecting and often hilarious relief. Rae Meadows is a shining talent; welcome her to the stage with thunderous cheers.”
– Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life


“I recognize these dreamers and fallen angels from the books of Joan Didion and Hubert Selby and Denis Johnson, and here they spring to life in an unexpected place – the Great Salt Lake, the onetime American Holy Land that still draws wayward pilgrims. In her own rush toward oblivion, our clearheaded heroine navigates among them without pity, but with a grace that ultimately makes this a story not of loss, or sin, but of redemption.”
– Mark Sundeen, author of Car Camping and The Making of Toro