What happens after your best friend is kidnapped—and then returns home two years later?

It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear.

For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?

And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.
A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

“Tense! The constant push and pull of friendship, pain, love, and jealousy is beautifully drawn. A definite must read.”

—JAY ASHER, author of New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why andThe Future of Us





The Tension of Opposites has been nominated for YALSA’s 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults, the 2010 Cybils Awards, and the 2012-2013 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award.

The Tension of Opposites is a smart and arresting debut. It’s engrossing and fascinating, painful and hopeful . . . McBride treats the subject matter with respect . . . This is one novel definitely worth reading.”


“Tessa’s pain is realistically drawn, and her recovery . . . is authentic and hard-won; debut author McBride effectively uses Tessa’s love of photography as an expression of her growth. Tessa’s concern for what she sees as poor choices on Elle’s part . . . as well as her questions about Elle’s captivity create true tension in a well-paced story with some emotional punches that really connect.”


“Tessa’s first-person viewpoint and the rapid, immediate dialogue are right on, with Elle’s family, in the schoolyard, and with Max. Told without explicit detail, the headline drama about sexual predators will pull teens, and so will Tessa’s intense conflict between friend and boyfriend.”



Sometimes I saw Noelle sunning herself on a tropical beach, away on an endless vacation. But like my old therapist had told me, it isn’t healthy to ignore reality. Most of the time, I envisioned Noelle in a dark basement, chained to a moldy wall. But that went directly against the information I had found online the day the crisis-intervention speaker came to our middle school and tried to soften the blow of Noelle’s absence. In my worst moments, I pictured Noelle’s clean bones peeking up from a pile of damp leaves in the woods.

Book Info

Publisher: Egmont USA

ISBN (Hardcover): 978-1-60684-085-6 (1-60684-085-1)

ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-60684-213-3 (1-60684-213-7)

ISBN (eBook): 978-1-60684-291-1 (1-60684-291-9)