The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
When Tessa’s best friend Noelle disappears right before the start of eighth grade, Tessa’s life changes completely–she shies away from her other friends and stops eating in the cafeteria. Now, two years later, Noelle has escaped her captivity and is coming home, in one piece but not exactly intact, and definitely different. Tessa’s life is about to change again as she tries to revive the best-friendship the two girls had shared before Noelle–now Elle–was kidnapped; puts up a futile resistance to the charming new guy at school; pursues her passion for photography while trying to build the bravado to show her photos to the public; and tries to balance her desire to protect and shelter Elle with the necessity to live her own life and put herself first.
Tessa and Noelle are best friends. They have been best friends for what seems like forever. Then, in 8th grade, Noelle disappears without a trace. Tessa is forced to move on with her daily life, but cuts off all connections to her old friends. This book opens two years later with Tessa meeting with Noelle’s brother, Cooper, who informs her that Noelle called and setup a sting to catch her kidnapper. Tessa is stunned and can’t believe it. But when she watches the events unfold on tv, she is excited, albeit a bit hesitant, to make contact with her best friend. Their relationship is a bit strained at first, with Tessa trying to understand how she should act and what she should say to the girl who now calls herself “Elle”. I mean, what do you say to your best friend who just spent two years with a sick pedophile? I could really feel Tessa’s confusion and frustration and trying to figure out who this new girl is, while still taking care of her own life and a new crush in the form of a fellow photography classmate named Max.
Max is a great character and I really loved him! He really helps Tessa work through her emotions, while trying to make her realize that she has to live her own life, too, and not be constantly worried about Elle. Tessa and Max’s relationship is really sweet and I loved watching it develop through their mutual love of photography.
This book will grab you from page one and not let go until the last word is read. It’s a quick read, but you will fall in love with these characters. I cannot imagine the horror that Elle had to endure. The book does not go into a lot of detail about Elle’s time away – it only recounts details as necessary to move the story forward. I think telling the story from Tessa’s perspective was really great and I enjoyed this point of view.
Any YA lovers will enjoy this book, but this is definitely one I would recommend to everyone!