The Tension of Opposites

The Tension of Opposites

by Kristina McBride


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Two years ago Noelle disappeared. Two long years of no leads, no word, no body. Since the abduction, Tessa, her best friend, has lived in a state of suspended animation. She has some friends but keeps them distant. Some interests, but she won't allow herself to become passionate about them. And guys? She can't get close—she knows what it is like to lose someone she really cared for. And then one day, the telephone rings. Noelle is alive. And maybe, just maybe, Tess can start to live again too.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath a kidnapping can have on the victim and on the people she left behind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606842133
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/24/2011
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.36(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.82(d)
Lexile: HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kristina McBride has published two novels for young adults—THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES and ONE MOMENT. Kristina is a former high school English teacher and yearbook advisor, as well as an adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest. Kristina has a thing for music, trees, purses, and chocolate. You might be surprised to learn that Kristina was almost kidnapped when she was a child. She also bookstalks people on a regular basis. Kristina lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children. Visit her online at

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The Tension of Opposites 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.
Burg More than 1 year ago
When I heard that Kristina McBride got her inspiration for this novel from a real kidnapping that took place I became hesitant to read it. I know it isn't right to want to remain ignorant of the horrors that happen on a daily basis in the world, but sometimes I have to block it all out to be able to sleep at night. Meeting Tessa in this book, who's best friend Noelle was kidnapped and then came home after two years was interesting. Tessa felt as if she couldn't move forward because of what happened to Noelle and was also incredibly guarded after the incident. It was tough to read but even harder to imagine going through a situation like that personally. Anyone who picks up this book has to know it's going to be an emotional read but at times the intensity still took me by surprise. McBride gives readers a chance to look at how these kinds of traumas affect not only the victim of the crime but also the victim's family and friends. It's an intense depiction of a terrifying situation and the aftermath few hear much about. On a slightly lighter note, I will say I really enjoyed the relationship between Tessa and Max. It was a slight reprieve and I appreciated that. It was portrayed in a realistic light which flowed nicely with the development of the story as a whole. There was a lot of growth and understanding throughout. This is not a light and easy or quick read in my opinion, but I've never been a crime scene show type of girl either. I'm glad I got the chance to read it not to mention how much I enjoyed McBride's writing. I'm hoping this debut is only the beginning for her because I would love to read more of her work in the future.
thehidingspot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Tension of Opposites is one of those novels that pulls you in from the first lines and refuses to let you go until you've read every last word. Devour is almost too tame a word to describe how quickly I read this novel... inhale might be a better fit. It's always a magical experience when a reader finds an author whose writing style fits perfectly with his or her preferences - and I'm happy to say that I experienced that magic with Tension. I feel that I should mention that the the description of Tension only conveys the darker elements of the plot, despite the fact that there is plenty of lighter material in the novel as well. Not only are both light and dark elements present, they are perfectly balanced. With a novel that addresses such a heavy topic, attempts at lighter material may be awkward and disrupt the flow of the novel, but this isn't so with Tension: it plunged into the inky dark depths of emotion and managed an amazing love story. The fact that the story is told from the point-of-view of the victim's best friend offered a unique perspective and, I think, ultimately allowed McBride to write such a balanced story. I would have been frustrated if the entire story was dark, since Tessa is the narrator and I wanted her to move past the traumatizing event and find happiness, despite the horrors that Noelle suffered. It will never be something that she will forget, but she can't postpone her life indefinitely, no matter how much she loves Tessa.In ways, I thought the fact that Noelle lost so many things provided even more reasons that Tessa shouldn't. Noelle had those things taken... Tessa shouldn't just give them up.Tessa and Noelle's relationship was painful and heartbreaking. I felt for Tessa... She waited so long to regain her best friend, guilty and afraid to live her own life after Noelle's had been cruelly shattered. When Noelle returns home, Tessa knows that things won't be the same, but nothing can prepare her for the new Noelle... Elle, who doesn't seem to have even a glimmer of Noelle left in her. At the same time, I understand why Noelle had to adopt this new persona: Noelle, Tessa's best friend, is dead. I think McBride accurately conveyed Tessa's POV, which is different than most other YA novels dealing with the same topic, as they usually told from the victim's POV.One of the brightest elements of the novel is the romance between Tessa and Max, the boy who finds a way past Tessa's carefully constucted walls and into her heart. Max and Tessa's relationship is one of my absolute favorites... and I read a lot of good love stories. I think the realistic quality of their story is what really won me over... I believed in their story. That and the fact that there is the definite possiblity that it might not work out between them and I desperately believed that they should be together! Tessa's ready to do anything to help Noelle, including giving up her own happiness... and Max.
sithereandread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, by Kristina McBride, was a bone-chilling thriller that explores the ripple-effect that a kidnapping creates. Although Noelle was kidnapped two years prior, her best friend, Tessa, held onto the hope that she was still alive and would come back home. When Noelle's brother told Tessa that Noelle was found and coming home, she believed that her friend was back but the opposite was true.I really enjoyed this book. There were two stories that revolved around Tessa, one with Max and the other with Noelle, AKA Elle. Tessa did not want to move on with her life because it felt wrong that Elle couldn't move on while she was gone. But when Tessa met Max, she finally found someone she could really connect with. At the same time, she was trying to protect Elle when she didn't need protecting.I also liked the added element of photography. The artistic eye that both Tessa and Max had added to their charm as a couple. And the assignment that was lingering over them throughout the book really tied it all in. The resulting project for Tessa was really fantastic. Her experiences with Max and Elle gave her a new perspective on life in the hope that she might be able to finally let go of "Noelle".The kidnapping had such an effect on all the characters, it was a bit startling to deal with at first. Elle was very unpredictable. It was heart-breaking to learn what she went through during the two years she was gone and it made her so strong, but I waited for her to snap at any moment. This young girl grew up very quickly and it was difficult to deal with for everyone around her. But I love how through it all, both Elle and Tessa realized that nothing could ever go back to what it was, but something new and beautiful could be created.This book is definitely a must-read.
silenceiseverything on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to start out by saying that The Tension of Opposites followed [book:Living Dead Girl|2954411] by Elizabeth Scott for me, so that probably hurt my rating of this book as that one was pretty great and this one just fell short. Just thought I'd mention in that in the interest of full disclosure. Anyway, back to The Tension of Opposites, I thought that this book was just okay. I don't fully understand why I didn't love it, it's just that I felt like I was going through it for the sake of going through it. I wasn't fully connected to it.I loved the premise of having a kidnapping story told through the eyes of someone other than the person who was kidnapped. That rarely happens and if it does, it's told from the perspective of the parents. The Tension of Opposites focuses on the victim's best friend and her reactions to everything that has happened, as well as her wallflower behavior as a consequence to the events. Again, I liked that unique aspect of it. However, I think that the thought of it was way better than the actual execution. For one thing, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Since the story is told from Tessa's (the bff) point of view, we don't get the whole story on Elle and her reactions and I just found her a more interesting character than Tessa, herself. Tessa was just so wishy-washy and I was annoyed with her throughout most of the book. I understand being there for a friend and I commend her for it, but it really was a bit much. Tessa was full out obsessing over Elle. If I were Elle, I would've told her to back off at least to have a minute to breathe.However, while I did understand a bit where Tessa's boyfriend was coming from when he said that Tessa needed to focus more on herself, he came off a bit jerky when focusing on herself was supposed to be focusing on him completely. He just came off kind of douchey and self-obsessed with the whole "Baby, I need attention" facade. I'm sorry, but I don't find needy men attractive. In fact, I find them way annoying. And "dude, who's name I totally cannot recall right now" was no exception.I did like the rest of the supporting characters. I liked Darcy and thought that she was a pretty kick-ass friend and I absolutely loved Cooper. In fact, I totally could've read a whole book from Cooper's point of view and his reactions to his sister's kidnapping. Now, there is an intriguing character. I really did love Coop's relationship with Elle. I thought that it was so sweet.So, all in all, I thought that The Tension of Opposites was just okay. It was a page-turner and it did keep me reading, but I just didn't feel a tangible connection to any of the characters besides wanting to know how they would end up. And again, Tessa was mildly annoying. I do recommend it as it was a pretty compelling read, but it just wasn't my favorite novel.
lal30367 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. The plot twists and turns you all the time. YOu can feel all the emotions runnning through you. Sadness, Happiness and counfution.I give this book a 5 out of 5. amazing read.
GirlonaMission on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ever since Noelle disappeared Tessa pretty much disappeared as well......mentally. She couldn't live her life as normal while worrying about what happened to Noelle. So she decided not to live her life at all but to simply exist. No dating, hanging out, meeting new friends, school dances, or anything that might be considered fun.When Noelle came back, all of my questions were answered slowly throughout the rest of the book; how he kidnapped her, how she escaped, what sick things he did to her and how she will move on from it. When she comes back, Tessa feels as though she has to protect her, thus still not making a life of her own. Tessa was definitely the wet blanket because she reminded me of someone's mom lol. She was never able to truly relax and made it so others couldn't as well. The romance aspect that was slipped in was hot one minute and the next, completely ice cold. It didn't seem like it really belonged there.One thing I did like was that it wasn't just about Noelle being kidnapped. In books there's always a story about a girl being kidnapped but no one ever writes about what happens if she comes back and how it effects their family and friends. Unfortunately this didn't turn out to be as good as I'd imagined it would be BUT it was good enough to continue reading.Recommended for those looking for an emotional read mixed with high school politics.
BookSwarm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a terrible nightmare, especially for parents, to have a child taken from them, to have no word if she's alive or dead. And, when their child finally comes home, she's been through something so traumatic, she's a totally different person. I can't even imagine.But this story isn't told from the parents' perspective. It's told from the viewpoint of Noelle's best friend in the whole entire world, Tessa. Tessa is an introvert, more comfortable behind the lens of her camera, while Noelle was the extrovert, dragging Tessa out into the world. But as soon as Noelle disappeared, Tessa retreated, abandoning everyone but Darcy (who is too stubborn to allow Tessa to ditch her).Then, Noelle returns. Her hair is stringy and black. She demands to be called Elle, because Noelle is dead (metaphorically). At first, she won't talk to anyone, even Tessa. And Tessa is frantic to see her. After all, she's been dreaming of her friend for two years.In the midst of all this drama, Tessa finds a guy, Max. Max is gentle and understanding but with the stubbornness required to get behind Tessa's wall. He was a great character. I'd date him and I got frustrated with Tessa's reluctance to do so.Actually, I got frustrated with Tessa quite a bit. I mean, I totally get being an introvert. But to close yourself off from the world and refuse to interact with it when your friend disappears? Yes, it's a terrible thing but she lets it take over her entire life. And when Noelle finally comes back, Tessa is even more obsessed with her, ditching Max on multiple occasions because she thinks Noelle needs her.Despite my frustration with Tessa, I still blazed through the novel because I wanted to see what happened with Noelle, with Tessa and Noelle, and with Tessa and Max. The interesting, dynamic (and, at times, frustrating) characters really make this novel shine, and McBride tells a difficult story very well.
crazypplrok on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I first heard about this book, it sounded like any other kidnapping book. I was wrong. Turns out it was so much more. It tells not only the story of Noelle coming home and her recovery, but also the recovery of her family and Tessa, her best friend from before the incident. The entire book is in Tessa¿s point of view and follows her on her journey of self-discovery after holding herself back for the two years that Noelle was gone. We also learn some of the things that Noelle went th...more When I first heard about this book, it sounded like any other kidnapping book. I was wrong. Turns out it was so much more. It tells not only the story of Noelle coming home and her recovery, but also the recovery of her family and Tessa, her best friend from before the incident. The entire book is in Tessa¿s point of view and follows her on her journey of self-discovery after holding herself back for the two years that Noelle was gone. We also learn some of the things that Noelle went through while being a captive and the repercussions of those devastating years.I was surprised at the way that Noelle acted once she started socializing again. She was angry, of course, but she was also extremely self-destructive. Some of the people around her had me going ¿heartless bastards¿ and I wondered if they really knew the impact of their actions. *Note that I am not talking about the kidnapper; he knew what he was doing and was fully aware of the consequences.Overall I would recommend this book to anyone that can handle the reality of a situation such as this. Pick up The Tension of Opposites and you won¿t be disappointed.
joannemepham29 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was okay but not great, and I felt the emphasis on the friend of the kidnapping was too great. I never felt the character who was the victim's pain, or felt any sympathy for her because she was the side story really. All in all this was well written, but a little slow in the plot considering the basis for the story.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tessa¿s best friend Noelle was kidnapped off the street two years ago. For two years, Tessa has held on to the small sliver of hope that Noelle might still be alive. She has even put her own life on hold while waiting, trying not to make new friends or experience high school things like falling in love while Noelle is gone.Then, Tessa gets the news that changes her life yet again. Noelle is alive. But her two years in captivity have changed her a lot, and she¿s no longer the girl Tessa remembers her to be. Tessa is torn between growing into her own person with a first love, and staying loyal to her hurt and hurtful friend.THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES is one of the nicest contemporary realistic YA fiction novels I¿ve read in a long time. This is a great achievement by debut author Kristina McBride, easy readable, and full of relatable characters and turbulent emotions.Kristina McBride¿s writing pulls us into Tessa¿s world from the very first page, and carefully explores the pain and confusion of the effects of trauma on a friendship. Tessa¿s struggles to balance her own happiness with that of her friend¿s is extremely well drawn, its subtleties clear and real. It¿s not that we may necessarily agree with all of Tessa¿s actions and beliefs: it¿s more that we can see why she chooses to do what she does, just like a confused teenager dealing with a terrifyingly strange situation would.The characterization is good, but not quite as good as I thought it could¿ve been. Oftentimes Tessa¿s inner turmoil seemed detached from her borderline cheeky conversations with her crush and friends. I also wanted to get a better sense of Tessa and Noelle¿s friendship before the kidnapping, to contrast that with the drastically different relationship shown us in the novel. Noelle¿s development felt choppy sometimes, one minute harsh, the next almost unconvincingly vulnerable. And I was unconvinced that Max, the love interest, would fall immediately for her and continue to pursue her after she so continually pushes him away. This is more wishful thinking for how teenage relationships go, than reality.But perhaps these small issues I had with the book are actually regular behaviors for people in this situation, because one of the greatest things about THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES is that it is a prototype: I have not read anything like it before. And the small issues are basically me nitpicking anyway. Overall, this book was a fantastic read, and goes down like a smooth cup of your favorite refreshing beverage, with a thoughtful aftertaste.
katiedoll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For someone who grew up watching true crime and investigation shows, I was a bit nervous that this book would be completely unrealistic and dolled up for the pages. Fortunately, Kristina McBride did her research. The Tension Of Opposites was mysterious, intense and very real.We didn¿t get much of a glimpse into Tessa¿s life while Noelle was missing, but when she comes home, it¿s a whirlwind of drama and emotions as she tries to rebuild her friendship with Noelle, who doesn¿t want anything to do with her anymore. And while getting inside Noelle, or `Elle¿ as she dubbed herself after arriving home with a darker attitude, would¿ve been interesting, I was immediately hooked on Tessa¿s thoughts while she dealt with her once best friend¿s extreme personality change. It¿s something that crime and investigation shows don¿t show too much of - the friend that is hurting just as much as anybody in the family is.But while Tessa tries to cope with Elle¿s fascination for breaking rules and being in the spotlight, she finds light in an enigmatic boy named Max. He¿s insanely sweet and keeps her level, and their romance is so special because it¿s flawed and realistic. It¿s not perfect and giggly and it¿s definitely not something from a fairytale; Max can be a bit impatient and Tessa has a tendency to put Elle above everyone else, including herself. It was just another reason why I loved how raw and real this story was; it was completely believable. All of it.Overall, The Tension Of Opposites is an intense and suspenseful novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Kristina McBride writes an enthralling story that proves that even the safe return of a missing child can be as dark and depressing as the kidnapping in the first place. With perfectly written raw emotions, an admirable teenage romance and realistic crime scenarios, I definitely think this one is worth checking out!
booksandwine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride pertains to the aftermath of a tragic event, and what people do to deal with the wake of such an event. When Tessa was a little girl, her best friend was kidnapped. The story centers around Tessa during her junior year, if I remember correctly, forgive me if I don't it's been a few weeks since I read the book. Anyways, we can see the psychological effects of this event on Tessa as she is portrayed as painfully shy, withdrawn and scared of her own shadow. She's got all this pent up guilt because she has a shot at a life which her best friend will never have. Cut to the future, where her kidnapped BFF, Noelle re-emerges. We see how exactly Noelle copes with surviving her ordeal which definitely included sexual assault, and how Tessa tries to fit back into Noelle's life.The Tension of Opposites is not an easy book. It is not a beach read. However, this book will wrench your heart into a vice. You may want to lecture/shake Tessa, as her cautiousness can be overbearing. Let's be real here, I don't expect to get a laugh out of a book dealing with tragic events. What I did expect, I got -- I felt empathetic, I was moved, my heart did pound at some parts because there is some suspense. I got a story which absolutely engrossed me.Too often, we complain about how in YA, girls often choose the boy over the friend. Girls will ditch their friends for the flavor of the week. We see friendships tinged with toxicity, where it seems status matters more than companionship. I loved that in Tension of Opposites, Tessa chooses the friend. She is there when she's needed -- even when Noelle may not particularly want her there. We see the girls have a few spats, which is apt to happen between friends. I love that I got a portrait of friendship put through the ringer -- so to speak. Of course, realize changes do occur, one can't come back from being assaulted, kidnapped, and abused and still be the same person.The book is definitely not all doom and gloom though. There is a boy. Isn't there always a boy? From what I remember, he struck me as being sensitive, yet was not exactly perfect. By this I mean, he struck me as a jerk, yet there was reason. However, being a jerk is way not cool. BUT on the one hand, I don't want male characters to be perfect, on the other, let's not idolize DBs. Either way, I liked that he was well-rounded.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read, good character development, entertaining.
plus-and__ More than 1 year ago
I really like the book "the Tension of Opposites."
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A_Good_Addiction More than 1 year ago
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
La_Femme_Readers More than 1 year ago
The Tension of Opposites was a heartbreaking story about the aftermath of a kidnapping. The distress and raw emotions behind the plot was perfectly executed. News channels always mention kidnappings but, they don't normally focus on the victim's state of mind. So, I admired that Kristina took that route. I enjoyed picking through the ups and downs of Noelle's mind. Tessa, Noelle's best friend, was a fantastic character. I loved her determination and continuous support for Noelle. It's hard to see someone you love change dramatically after a tragic event. Patience was key to understanding the changes that Noelle was going through and Tessa was the right person to stand by her side. This book not only was emotional but also had romance in it. Tessa never really cared about her feelings and just remained a true, selfless friend towards Noelle. However, that slowly changed once she met Max. He was absolutely adorable and a great energy to be around. I think he played a huge role in helping Tessa through her difficult friendship with Noelle. Overall, this book simply hooked me in and left me feeling satisfied. It was creative and well-balanced. I haven't seen this idea in YA before and I am grateful to have read this innovative debut. I look forwarding to read more works by Kristina since her writing is highly delightful.