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 Anyways, we can see the psychological effects of this event on Tessa as she is portrayed as painfully shy, withdrawn and scared of her own shadow.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 by Kristina McBride, 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 Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride 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.