Title: The Tension of Opposites
Author: Kristina McBride
It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear.
For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?
And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.
A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.
I have a bit of a personal interest in this book (not going to say what exactly, though), but that’s not the only reason that I first picked this book up in a bookstore. The title and the cover looked intriguing, and getting a look at the synopsis instantly grabbed my attention. It’s an interesting idea – looking at the aftermath of a kidnapping and the victim being returned home after a terrifying ordeal. It could be a horribly shallow attempt at being deep or it could end up being a beautiful look into a tragedy.
Luckily, it fell in the latter category – this book was so amazing! McBride did a great job of spinning a tale of kidnapping from the point of view of the victim’s best friend, who was left wondering what happened to her friend after two years of being gone. The main character, Tessa, is an individual of her own, but realistically she feels a deep connection with her missing friend, and when Noelle, later known as Elle, returns, she feels responsible for her. She has trouble retaining her individuality, especially when a boy takes an interest in her. Tessa is so wrapped up in Elle that she can’t get out of her shell, and this story follows her journey of gaining self-confidence. Not only is this a story about a kidnapping victim, but it also focuses a lot on her journey. I think it’s a good combination and works well.
The characters are also pretty well-rounded, in my opinion. Tessa has other interests besides her best friend, but of course that’s a big part of who she is and it reflects in her actions and personality. Elle could come across as a very negative, unlikable character, but I feel her pain so much – she went through a horrible experience, and it takes a lot to recover from that. Max, the love interest, also manages to have a personality worth liking as opposed to being pure eye candy. And the romance is fairly believable. The two characters meet at the beginning of the book, but even though Tessa observes that he’s attractive, she doesn’t immediately fall in love with him. Instead, they become friends first, through their mutual love of photography, and then a romance blossoms. It has its bumps along the way, thanks to Tessa’s quasi-obsession with Elle, but that’s realistic.
One of my favorite small details of the story is the interwoven assignment that gives the story its name – pictures that fulfill the topic of the ‘tension of opposites.’ I’d love to see some pictures that follow this guideline, because, based on the entries described in the book, it sounds like it’d be a beautiful sight to see.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars