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The Tension of Opposites

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  • Posted July 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

    Tessa and Noelle had been best friends for as long as either could remember. They were ripped apart two years ago when Noelle disappeared. All that was left was her bike abandoned on the sidewalk. For two years, Tessa spent every waking moment thinking about Noelle and missing her. She carried on but refused to enjoy life without her best friend.

    Suddenly, life has changed. Noelle has returned. Against the predicted odds from law enforcement officials and other similar cases, she escaped her captor. Tessa can hardly believe it's true. It's like she can finally live again, too.

    Dreams of a joyous reunion and catching up on all they've missed together over two years are all Tessa can think about. Instead, she discovers her friend is refusing to see her. Understandable in the beginning, but as the weeks go by, Tessa can't comprehend why Noelle stays hidden away.

    When she finally gains access, she is puzzled by Noelle's reaction. One of the first things the kidnap victim insists is that she wants to be known as Elle, not Noelle, and that's not all that's changed. Tessa finds out Elle has not been hiding from everyone, but rather sneaking out at night on risky adventures, and the more Tessa observes, the more concerned she becomes.

    Loyalty to Elle is complicated by the fact that Tessa has met Max. At first, he was just the new guy and her partner in photography class, but he's different and beginning to fill a special place in Tessa's life. Elle seems happy for her, but Tessa is torn between enjoying her new relationship and being there for the still emotionally fragile Elle.

    Described as "a haunting psychological thriller," THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES is one you will want to get your hands on this summer. Author Kristina McBride delves into the minds of her characters to illustrate that trauma takes its toll on victims and survivors alike. Elle may have been the victim of a horrendous kidnapping, but those left behind before her return lived with their own trauma, as well. Even a so-called "happy ending" has its complications, too.

    Readers will remember this one long after they turn the final page.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2014

    I really like the book "the Tension of Opposites."

    I really like the book "the Tension of Opposites."

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Good Addiction

    Gripping, painful and emotional sum this book up at its core. A situation no parent or teen ever wants to find themselves in forms the basis of this book, playing out in a very raw way. For two years, Noelle has been held captive by a predator, doing unthinkable things to and with her- many of which the reader never finds out but learns enough to know Noelle never stood a chance of coming away unchanged. Calloused and numb, the reader gets only glimpses of the girl who was taken through her best friend's memories, instead meeting a brash, bold and unflinching girl named Elle.

    Elle is the most defining part of this book for me as the reader learns about her struggles through the eyes of Tessa, giving the outsider's perspective that drives things. The reader will feel the same frustrations and confusion as Tessa, torn between a grotesque desire to learn the details of her captivity and wanting only to shelter and protect her. An urge to push things back to normalcy will connect the reader with Tessa, forging a strong bond that tugs from the start.

    Tessa is written in an almost painful manner, having given up much of her own life after Noelle's disappearance. Wracked with guilt over Noelle's unknown fate, Tessa finds herself fading away as much as her best friend did. Hiding behind the lens of a camera, Tessa remains in the background until a new student shows up at school. Compounding this is Noelle's sudden and unexpected return, only to experience the same wrenching feelings to learn her best friend is nothing like the girl she remembers. This book chronicles Tessa's internal battles and struggles as much as it does Elle's, bringing them head to head in a shocking fashion.

    Max, the love interest and new guy who tests Tessa, is certainly swoon worthy but underneath his cute personality and curls lies a determined young man who knows what he wants and will go for it. Understanding for the most part, Max begins to fail the same tension and battle as Tessa- except he's fighting to keep Tessa with him while she struggles to keep Elle. As things progress, the reader will find themselves torn between Max and Tessa, understanding both sides but unable to root whole heartedly for one over the other.

    The connections between the characters are strong and taut, weaving them together in many ways- some of which aren't outwardly visible. Severing one tie does not cut all completely, instead often thrusting another into the light, and the back and forth motion will keep make the reader feel as convoluted as the characters. The title of this book fits brilliantly, having multiple meanings throughout the book and helping to driving the plot.

    With raw, intricate writing that is rapt with striking imagery, a wrenching but painfully realistic plot and characters that are too young to be facing these situations yet have been thrust carelessly into them at the hand of one man make this book a worth it though heartrending read. An emotional roller coaster with a few missing sections of track, this is a book that will gut but leave the reader changed. The development of the characters is profound and the final pages are welcomed if only for relief from the world created. This isn't a book for the fainthearted as it hits on very rough issues but it is, undoubtedly, worth the emotions. This is a very stunning debut highlighting elaborate characters, stunning writing and a mastery of human emotion and turmoil and easily one for the Best Reads shel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    Original review can be found on my blog:

    Original review can be found here:

    First off, let me say that I hold high expectations for a book. I'm picky, so to actually pick a book up, I expect to love it. Most don't live up to these somewhat ridiculous high standards.

    Not only did the Tension of Opposites live up to those expectations, but exceeded them.

    Kristina McBride made it seem seamless the way she wriggled herself into the mind of a girl, Tessa, whose best friend Noelle was kidnapped and then returned two years later. She describes Tessa's fear of strangers that has budded since the kidnapping as though it were her own, which contributed to the impressive creep factor.

    It was refreshing to have Tessa ease into a relationship, not instantly fall in love with the love interest because he's attractive. The best way to describe this is in Tessa's own words:

    "I tried to keep from noticing how beautiful he was because thoughts like those can make you vulnerable, leave you open for attack. Having a squared jaw, smooth skin, and full lips certainly didn't make him safe."

    My one complaint was Noelle, Tessa's best friend and the girl who had been kidnapped. I don't think her fear after the incident was captured as well as Tessa's. I know she was trying to be portrayed as tough, strong, and guarded but some of her actions threw me off. Like after she escaped and returned to her family, she would sneak out in the middle of the night. By herself. Her explanation for this was because everyone in her house was suffocating her, which was true, but I can't see her having the bravery to sneak out after all she went through for two years.

    That really was my only problem with this book. The rest was beautifully written, and for the most part, the characters were 100% believable. Opposites played an important part in the plot, and Kristina McBride managed to balance the opposites of dark and light. There was enough darkness to make me want to run to bed and have my parents check my closet for monsters, but enough light to give me hope for victims of a traumatizing event.

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    Posted July 3, 2011

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    Posted June 11, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

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