Boss Girl by Hilary Rogers

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Girltopia Trilogy, book 2. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781742994598.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Female Empowerment; Viruses; Science Fiction. Set in Melbourne after a vicious virus has debilitated all the males in the city leaving them unresponsive and needing constant care. This story follows on from the first book in the series, Girltopia, which saw 12 year-old Clara come to the fore as a well-known identity after her exploits to rescue her father. In Boss Girl, Clara is displaying her 'good girl' traits again, looking after the sick, running activities for young girls, supporting her friends and following the directions of her mother, who works as a scientist searching for the cure to the virus. But Clara hides a big secret - a hidden healthy male. This is a secret that she needs to keep from her mother, she doesn't want Jack to become a scientist's 'guinea pig'.
As this story unfolds, we see the developing society under female rule, the entire community responding to the shift in the balance of power. Some things seem to be moving forward smoothly, and yet a visit to Clara's mother's work place leaves her with questions. Big questions! Clara's role and notoriety also places her at the centre of attention wherever she goes, and she is starting to wonder whether there is a conspiracy at the heart of the viral attack. Who can she trust? This book ends with a cliff-hanger - readers will not be satisfied until the third part of this trilogy reveals what will happen to all the male Melburnians, and whether there is a solution and author of this major attack on society.
Written with a light touch, so the horrors of ill-health are merely the backstory, rather than in the forefront for young readers, this almost feels more like a Baby-sitters Club story at the start. Clara is a character who is a 'good girl' role model who struggles with her parent's separation, fame and even disobeying her mother's instructions. As the story progresses, we do see more of a social commentary and there are issues to ponder as the 'female rule' is played out. Consequently, this book could stimulate thinking for young readers and therefore is worth recommending.
Carolyn Hull