July 20, 2015 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
One True Thing by Nicole Hayes
Publisher/Year: Random House Australia, 1 May 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
Rating: 3 stars
Other books from author: The Whole of my World
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
What I Thought…
Another good example of Australian YA, One True Thing is an insightful look into Australian politics and the impact it has on the families of politicians. With key themes of feminism, family and friendship, Hayes opens the door on a topic rarely covered in YA fiction.
Throughout One True Thing, we follow the lives of Frankie and her family during the election campaign in Victoria, one of the States in Australia. I happen to live in Melbourne, where the book is set, and it was delightful to read a book where I could easily picture a lot of the scenery and surrounds. Hayes got her descriptions of Melbourne spot on! Things start to unravel for Frankie when photos are published of her mum meeting with a younger man, which is a bit of an issue when she’s attempting to be elected the Premier of Victoria during an election year and won’t tell anyone who the younger man is.
For starters, the vitriol directed at Frankie, her mum and their family is nothing short of disgusting, largely because it’s reminiscent of the Gillard years and her treatment at the hands of the media. Now I’m not a fan of Gillard, but there’s no denying that things went too far then, and they went way too far for Frankie and her family. I think the media sometimes forgets that there are real people having to deal with their allegations but they’ll stop at nothing for a headline, which is clearly illustrated in One True Thing.
I struggled at times to connect with Frankie, largely because she was so selfish. Little things showed this in the beginning of the book, such as calling the band “her” band rather than “our” band. As the book went on, she ignored her best friend, was dismissive of her new relationship and couldn’t focus on anything but herself. While friendship was a key theme, Frankie wasn’t a very good friend. Of course, she learned from the best, as her mother wasn’t much better. Too focused on keeping the truth under wraps to protect the younger man in the photo, her mum too easily turns a blind eye to the impact this is having on her family. Whilst I kind of understood it in the end, I still struggled to understand how someone could do that too their family.
My other struggle with the book was the length, in that it was too long in places and seemed to drag. There was a lot of superfluous material and I think it could’ve been condensed and perhaps had more of an impact. In saying that, I wouldn’t want any of the scenes involving Frankie’s brother Luke to disappear because he’s just too cute! Such a cutie, it was gut-wrenching to read how he felt through everything.
If you want to read a book about Australian politics, family and the impact our choices can have on others, then this is the book for you. Despite being a touch long, it wasn’t dull or boring. If there’s one true thing I can say about this book, it’s definitely an interesting read.
What did you think of this book? Did you enjoy it?