> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 May 2015
  • ISBN: 9780857986894
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

One True Thing

When is a secret not a secret? When your whole life is public.

Most sixteen-year-olds get woken up by their parents because they’re late for school, or the dog needs walking. Ordinary reasons both boring and predictable, but also, well, safe. My mum drags me out of bed with reminders that she has to fight for international peace, or solve world hunger.

Frankie is used to being the daughter of a politician, but with her mum taking over as the Victorian Premier and an election coming up, life’s been crazier than usual. Add to that a brother with asthma to keep an eye on, a best friend who’s been weirdly distant lately, and the fact that Frankie’s just humiliated herself in front of a hot guy – who it turns out is a budding journalist wanting to interview her about her band. Frankie has a tough decision to make. Jake seems interested in her – but is it all for show, or does he really like her?

Then everything crumbles. Photos appear of Frankie’s mum having secret meetings with a younger man – and she refuses to tell the public why.

No one’s talking but someone knows the truth. With her family falling apart around her, Frankie is determined to find out – even if it means losing Jake.

When is a secret not a secret? When your whole life is public.

Frankie is used to being a politician’s daughter, but with her mum now running for Premier, life’s a whole lot crazier than usual. All Frankie wants is to lose herself in her music. So when her best friend, Kessie, invites a student journo to interview the band, Frankie is less than thrilled.

But Jake's easy to talk to, and he seems to really like Frankie. That doesn't stop her from wondering if he's just after the ultimate scoop, especially when photos surface of Frankie's mum having a secret rendezvous with a younger man. With her family falling apart around her, Frankie is determined to find out the truth - even if it means losing Jake.

  • Published: 1 May 2015
  • ISBN: 9780857986894
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

About the author

Nicole Hayes

When Nicole Hayes isn't yelling at the Hawks on TV or sharing hosting duties on the all-female AFL podcast, The Outer Sanctum, she teaches writing and writes fiction, essays and scripts. Her debut novel, The Whole of My World, was published in 2013 and was shortlisted for a Young Australians Best Book Award and longlisted for the Gold Inky Award. One True Thing, Nicole's second novel, won the Children's Peace Literature Award, is a CBCA Notable Book and was shortlisted for the WA Premier's Book Awards. She has also co-edited an anthology of footy stories, From the Outer: Footy Like You've Never Heard It, with Alicia Sometimes. Nicole lives in Melbourne with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Brody. Say hi at nicolehayesauthor.com or tweet @nichmelbourne.

Also by Nicole Hayes

See all

Praise for One True Thing

“The personal is political” has never been more sincerely brought to life, as Frankie struggles to keep her head above the fray in the powerful, wonderful One True Thing. As her mother battles for the premiership in an election year, the wry, determined Frankie draws us into her personal disasters, her rock-goddess dreams, and her family’s media rollercoaster. One True Thing is a compelling, heartfelt novel that confirms Nicole Hayes’ talent on every level. Go, Frankie, go!

Ellie Marney, author of EVERY BREATH

A truly unputdownable read. One True Thing is smart, original and compelling, and especially topical and relevant in the current climate. I loved Frankie – she’s such a deliciously flawed and complex protagonist, one that I found myself cheering on, wanting to hug, while at the same time wanting to give a good, stern talking to. Nicole does an amazing job at creating authentic, multifaceted female characters. A really wonderful second novel.

Melissa Keil, author of LIFE IN OUTER SPACE

Nicole Hayes is a magnificent rising force in Australian Publishing . . . Every word leaps off the page. If John Green has a contemporary then Nicole Hayes is it.


This is a terrific coming of age story with an incredibly likable protagonist. Highly recommended for ages 13 and up.

Athina Clarke, readings.com.au

A great story with a relatable protagonist who draws the reader into current, relevant and topical issues.


Social media and sensational journalism all get a run, and the importance and fragility of family are among the issues raised in the book. And of course at the same time, Frankie is finding love of a different kind. It's terrific.

Fairfield Books

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 . . . 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.


Are you heavily into music? Do you hate everything to do with politics? You’ll feel right at home with Frankie . . . Once the drama heats up, you won’t be able to put One True Thing down — whether you’re into politics or not.

Susan Whelan, kids-bookreview.com

With this second novel, Nicole Hayes has absolutely confirmed her talent as a quality writer for young adults . . . Despite her life seemingly going completely pear-shaped, Frankie demonstrates strength of character which is both admirable and inspirational. Strong female characters abound in this novel which makes it a must-read for young women as they also navigate their way to sometimes fraught teenage years . . . An amazing book which demands to be consumed immediately.

Sue Warren, losangzopa.wordpress.com

Get ready for a tale of intrigue, powermongering, romance and music. But be warned. When One True Thing gets going, it's really hard to put down.

Jo Burnell, Good Reading

This is a powerful book. It’s a book that gave me hope for the next generation of powerful women. It’s also funny and romantic and sweet and beautiful and poignant and smart and has one of the coolest protagonists I’ve read in a YA in a long, long time.

Kate Gordon, kategordon.com.au/blog/

There is something wonderful about the way [Hayes] writes; her insight into the teen psyche is spot on . . . The one thing that has stood out for me with both Hayes’ novels is how relatable her characters are and how easy it is to compare your life to theirs . . . This is currently one of my favourite YA novels and I can’t wait for Hayes’ next book!


I am a fan of good young adult fiction, and this is a great one.

Annie, thebigbookclub.com.au

Nicole Hayes has created a wonderfully human character in her smart, funny and flawed protagonist Frankie. A well paced, beautifully written young adult novel whose multifaceted and complex characters evolve and learn through their experiences. This is a book you may find hard to put down.

Mem Capp, Reading Time

Awards & recognition

WA Premier's Book Awards

Shortlisted  •  2016  •  Young Adult

CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Notable Book  •  2016  •  Older Readers

Discover more

Teachers' notes