YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: May 25th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3.5/5 stars)

Synopsis: 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.

Review: McBride’s debut novel is certainly one that is powerful, haunting, and unforgettable. The focal point of the story is how the people around Noelle deal with her kidnapping and her return. The kidnapping itself was not as important as the aftermath. I love how McBride approached child abduction in this novel and making it unique by telling it in the best friend’s Point Of View. If it was Noelle’s POV, the book would have been utterly heartbreaking and stomach-churning, but instead, the novel turned out to be not too overly graphic and disturbing.

McBride did a remarkable job with Tessa’s voice and readers can get inside her head and understand what it is like to have your best friend taken away and returned a whole new person. Character development for Tessa was very well done and she changed drastically from the beginning till the end. However, I felt Max was a little two-dimensional. He was the perfect Prince Charming — I need more depth. I also felt that too much time was spent developing Max and Tessa’s relationship and there were scenes where the focus of the book revolved around Max and Tessa and not Noelle and Tessa. Noelle’s character was complex but easy to sympathize with and I could see the difference before and after the kidnapping.

Although I thought McBride did a marvelous job in this novel, I feel that something is lacking. Perhaps, the kidnapping could have been further explored because I finished the book with unanswered questions.

Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, The Tension of Opposites is one novel you’ll want to pick up if you are in the mood for a dark read. Reading this book was like walking through a tunnel in darkness, not knowing where it would lead you to, but wait, you see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Comments on: "The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride" (2)

  1. I felt the same about Max, but overall, I thought this was a very solid read. I think that by leaving readers mostly in the dark about Noelle’s abduction, they can more fully sympathize with Tessa. Tessa is consumed by the need to know what happened to her friend, but it isn’t something she can ever fully understand because it didn’t happen to her. I liked that aspect of the story. Great review!

  2. Looks so thrilling! I really want this one!

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