Author – Hilary Rogers

Age – 10+

Clara Bloom and the girls at school think it’s a bit weird at first. Soapy the lollipop man isn’t on the crossing, when he’s always been there. The traffic is a lot thinner too. When they get to school, there’s not one boy in class or any class, and their teacher, Mr Jackman hasn’t arrived.

Thinking they all have called in sick, their favourite relief teacher arrives and they enjoy a boy free morning and recess. But it’s soon realised, there is something much more important happening. ALL the men and boys in Melbourne have been struck down by some sort of sleeping virus.

Clara’s dad left has recently left her and her mum, but she is immediately worried about him. When they can’t contact him, they believe he has gone on a fishing trip with a mate of his. But many men and boys have been moved to hospitals or emergency centres where they can be monitored. What if her dad is lying somewhere asleep and unprotected or dangerously dehydrating?

Clara and her friends come up with a plan, even if it is against the rules – both her mum’s and the police. Will her dad be okay? Will they even make it to the camping ground, and what difference could a few Instagram pictures make to the whole situation?

A great story for 10+ girls about all sorts of changes they may be experiencing. Parents arguing or even separating, liking a boy who she’s not sure likes her back, having a bestie who she relies on, breaking rules and the excitement of that, but the possible consequences showing themselves.
Clara’s road trip helps her work through these things, all with the perplexing problem of what’s happening to all the males of Melbourne.

(Courage, Virus, Divorce, Family, Friendship, Road trip, Crush)

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