Title: The Art of Breathing
Series: Who We Are (BOATK#3)
Author: TJ Klune
Length: Novel (350 Pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 16th, 2014)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: Tyson Thompson graduated high school at sixteen and left the town of Seafare, Oregon, bound for what he assumed would be bigger and better things. He soon found out the real world has teeth, and he returns to the coast with four years of failure, addiction, and a diagnosis of panic disorder trailing behind him. His brother, Bear, and his brother’s husband, Otter, believe coming home is exactly what Tyson needs to find himself again. Surrounded by family in the Green Monstrosity, Tyson attempts to put the pieces of his broken life back together.
But shortly after he arrives home, Tyson comes face to face with inevitability in the form of his childhood friend and first love, Dominic Miller, who he hasn’t seen since the day he left Seafare. As their paths cross, old wounds reopen, new secrets are revealed, and Tyson discovers there is more to his own story than he was told all those years ago.
In a sea of familiar faces, new friends, and the memories of a mother’s devastating choice, Tyson will learn that in order to have any hope for a future, he must fight the ghosts of his past.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5054
Review: Wow!!! What an emotional journey. Even though a few hours have passed since I read “The End”, my gut is still twisted in knots. The Art of Breathing, by TJ Klune, for those who don’t know, is the third book in the Who We Are series. It is imperative you read these in order. This is not a standalone book. Don’t do a disservice to yourself or the author for not starting at the beginning. This is a progression of growth and maturity, where life kicks you when you are down, you get back up, get a pat on the back, fall down again. You lose family members, gain them back, proving blood is NOT always thicker than water. Your family are the people who are by your side thru ups and downs, trials and tribulations. That is what TJ has built here with his characters, a self-made family, a culmination of different people, and a diversified cast, all needing the same thing. Love and acceptance.
That’s really what we all want, isn’t it? You will be put thru the ringer with this story. Your emotions will be everywhere. One minute you will be crying, and literally four pages over, you will be cracking up. You will experience highs and lows, sometimes testing your own strength to carry on. You may have to take a break, regroup, but you won’t be long. You need to know what happens next, are they going to be okay? Where do they go from here? How could he do that? But heed my wisdom here, and I only have wisdom because I’ve been thru it, this will be one of the most powerful novels you will ever read. The emotional impact the characters go thru, as well as, you the reader, will be tremendous. Your heart will hurt when they hurt, you will smile from ear to ear, when they are happy. You will have tears running down your face but hiccupping at the same time from laughter.
Have you ever cried, really hard, but then someone says something funny? You know to cheer you up, so you kind of make this funny noise in your throat trying to catch your breath? Yep, you do that too. But, it is so worth the journey, the roller coaster ride, to breathe….just breathe.
I’m not going to summarize the story, much anyway, I feel certain I could never do it the justice it deserves. There are twists and turns you will venture into and around. Sometimes you have no choice but to go through events or situations in order to get to the other side. Tyson, or the Kid, soon discovers this. As the blurb says, it has been 4 years he has been away. I think he felt he was the only one hurting, so therefore, he was only concerned with how he felt. He had been wronged, he was the one with the panic attacks, the therapy, and he never considered the whys that lead to these feelings. So he did what he felt he had to, he stayed away. He found a really dynamic, incredible human being, at college, someone he now considers his best friend. Sometimes he is Corey, also known as his ex-boyfriend, sometimes Corey becomes Kori, his ex-girlfriend. He/she, given the situation, helps Tyson realize he needs to go home. It may be only to gain closure but he will regret it, at some point, if he doesn’t at least try. He has faced many problems, upsets, hardships, while at school. He’s failing, his life is in shambles, so he does the only thing he knows he can do and that is go home.
Dominic was Tyson’s best friend, soul mates, closer than best friends. He was his world. Although Tyson doesn’t realize it, at the time, he is his reason for breathing. He is his next breath. When Tyson left and didn’t return, it broke Dominic. I just have to say what a profound and incredible character Dominic is. My heart broke for him, for his pain he has endured and the agony that was out of his control. He was a scared young man when we last saw him, but now, he has grown into a wonderful, respected adult. Sometimes, I wanted to kick Tyson’s behind for what he put Dominic through. For not stepping up and talking to him, for leaving him without any explanations. Eventually, they work thru the turmoil they both created and they each have a better understanding of what they mean to each other and I think Tyson realizes it’s time for him to grow up as well. It’s not going to be easy. He will struggle more before he gets his feet firmly planted. But, he has a lot of people, friends, and their self- made family that will support him and Dominic, as they figure out their future.
Bear and Otter are amazing. As time goes on, they get better and better. They are happily married and considering adding onto their immediate family. One thing that never waivers, is Bear’s love and devotion to Tyson. He is and will always be there for him. Otter is like a father to him and his love is steadfast. All the characters we have grown to love and care about will play a part in bringing this story to fruition. Some more than others, some in person, some in spirit. We meet new characters who help in different ways to move the story forward. They add their own ingredients, full of spunk and vinegar, and never shy away from their purpose. Each has his or her own purpose, they are not filler or fluff, well…they may be a little fluff, but they will have you laughing aloud, smiling from ear to ear, and you will be better off from the experience. Corey/Kori is such a breath of fresh air. He/she will enlighten your heart and you will be on stand-by against anyone who breaks his/her spirit
There are many things, situations, people, that keep coming to mind, and I think “Ohh, I should mention that or this” but the best thing is just to read it for yourself. You NEED to read it yourself in order to gain the understanding of the impact you will feel. TJ has created a family, they have become real, no longer imaginative, and these are people we want to see thru to the end. We want them happy and healthy, to love and be loved. Their story won’t end here. TJ has already made reference in his Author’s notes that he has one more story to give us. I can already vision some of the events that hopefully will get their closure. And, maybe not so much closure as more of getting them on the path to their happy ever after. There is more hope and redemption yet to happen, and I feel certain that it will work out as it is supposed to. Everything or everyone doesn’t need closure, they need a beginning, a helping hand, someone to love them, make them a family member of this incredible, remarkable family we already have.
I think the most important thing Tyson learns as well as Bear, Otter, and Dominic, is to breathe. Hold it, one, two, three, BREATHE….hold it, one, two, three, BREATHE…………..Trust me when I say, you will be enriched from the experience and the pleasure and rewards you gain will be something that stays with you for a long, long time. TJ Klune is an incredible, masterful storyteller, who has blessed us richly with sharing his family with us. The next book will tie up loose ends, I feel certain, but more than that, I think we will know that they are strong, they are survivors, and we can leave them, knowing their life is filled with peace, harmony, and love.