Unlike in my teaching days, there is no earthly reason for me to continue to read YA, particularly as there’s so much quality adult fiction beckoning me. Point is, I enjoy it and I am lucky enough to have a daughter who cherry picks the best for me – and Nicole Hayes’ ‘One True Thing’ is certainly up there with that best. I admit it that this tome occasionally gave me the irrits, especially when it came to the kids involved and their music – but I also openly admit that, in places, especially towards the end when a family witnessed an event no family should, it also had me somewhat misty eyed. And it never ceased to have me eagerly turning the pages.
Frankie’s music got to me. I suppose if I was again back teaching sixteen year olds I would enquire, after reading this, as to how many of them knew of the bands from another generation that the novel’s heroine was so in thrall to. I suspect the average teen of that age would more likely be wholly into the latest here-one-minute-gone-the-next ‘X-Factor’ sensation and ‘Ten Minutes of Spring’ or whatever the name of that band is with members still barely out of short pants. But then, what would I know? Besides, Frankie is no ordinary young lady and here’s where the book was so interesting to me. You see, she’s the daughter of the Premier of Victoria no-less. Also, that person isn’t her dad. So here Ms Hayes’ focus is on what happens to their family if their publicly prominent mother becomes involved in a seemingly tawdry sex scandal – and with a much younger fellow. In this we have involved an odious shock-joke making salacious accusations based on some photos of a secret rendezvous taken of the couple by budding journalist Jake – who just happens to be Frankie’s love interest. All this places the family in deep crisis, just as Premier Mum faces the biggest challenge of her career – a chance to become the first elected female leader of her state.
With all this going on around her, our heroine still has time to participate in her rock-group’s rehearsals for a battle of the bands style competition and attempt to stymie her bestie’s relationship with a fellow band member – the first keeper her gay mate has had.
It’s a given that it is up to Frankie to come to terms not only with, but as well sort out, the mess that is confronting her life and that of those she loves. How she goes about this makes for a terrific read – but for me it’s the political aspects that are the real attraction of the book. Will Jake redeem himself? Just who is the subject of her mother’s extra-marital affections? Will Frankie achieve a life ambition and see her musical heroes in concert? Will the oily broadcaster get his just desserts? Will our girl resolve the fracturing of her band in time to win the competition? And, most of all, will the Premier emerge triumphant? She’s somewhat self absorbed, is our Frankie, but one cannot but admire her spunk.
And congrats to Nicole H for melding all the strands together to make a juicy read for girls of Frankie’s ilk as they emerge from their teenage years to make their own imprint on our world.
Author’s website = http://nicolehayesauthor.com/