Author: Nicole Hayes
Publisher: Random House Australia Children's
Published: 1st May 2015
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley
When is a secret not a secret? When your whole life is public. Frankie is used to being a politician's daughter, but it's election time, so life's crazier than usual. Add a best friend who's being weirdly distant, a brother to worry about, and the fact that Frankie's just humiliated herself in front of a hot guy - who later turns up at band practice to interview her about her music. Jake seems to like Frankie - really like her. But then everything crumbles. Photos appear of Frankie's mum having secret meetings with a younger man - and she refuses to tell the public why. With her family falling apart around her, Frankie is determined to find out the truth - even if it means losing Jake.
I love reading books that are set in my home town of Melbourne. Sydney might get more international attention, but Melbourne is a great city with so much to offer and so much character that it's great to see it featuring in novels. If you look very closely at the cover of One True Thing, it actually features Melbourne's skyline and I'm sure you'll agree, it's just gorgeous.
One True Thing is told from the point of view of Frankie, the daughter of the Premier of Victoria who is facing an election, her first as Premier. Tired of the scrutiny that comes with her mother's position, Frankie chafes against the constraints put on her by her mother's team and the election campaign. She wants nothing more than to write songs to play with her band and listen to her beloved Pearl Jam. But the media have other ideas. Increased criticism and scrutiny have made things tense at home, and both her parents are acting strangely. Could her parents' unshakeable marriage be in trouble? While all this is going on, Frankie is having trouble with her best friend, the band seems to be imploding, and Jake, the totally hot boy who seems to like her, isn't telling her the whole story.
I really enjoyed this story on a number of levels. Frankie is a great character and she grows up a lot as the story progresses. Women in public life in Australia are treated very differently to men by the media, and One True Thing really highlights this. Women in politics are held to a completely different standard than their male counterparts, and are scrutinised far more harshly. They are expected to encompass femininity and to be beyond reproach in all areas. Look at Julia Gillard, Peta Credlin and Joan Kirner, if you need examples. Men's shortcomings are tolerated far more. I found this aspect of the story very interesting. It also made me think about how the way we talk about politicians has the potential to impact on their families. The media is ruthless in their dealings with politicians, but how does this affect their children?
I love that Pearl Jam are featured so heavily in this book. They are often very underrated, and after finishing the book I spent an entire evening on YouTube watching clips of their performances.
One True Thing also features convincing and multi-dimensional side characters who add to the depth of the story.
I really enjoyed this and look forward to seeing more from Nicole Hayes.