Title: The Art of Breathing
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 16, 2014
Page Count: 350
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
Pretty much as soon as I read Who We Are, and I saw just how wonderful Dom and Ty were together (even just as best friends), I could not wait to dive in and take a long swim in their story. And it’s heartbreaking and I had to practice the art of breathing some myself, since I was feeling so much, my chest constricted.
Ty seems so lost in The Art of Breathing. He’s the most vulnerable I’ve seen him. He’s not nearly so sure of himself and he is finally old enough to realize that he doesn’t know everything.
Now, I have lots of opinions on what went down and how everyone handled it. I think Bear made a mistake by allowing Ty to shut Dom out. I get it, I do. He couldn’t stand to see Ty hurting. But allowing that situation to go unresolved for so long had dire consequences because Ty wasn’t being honest with Bear and Otter or his therapist or himself about his mental state. He pushed it away and hid behind his meds instead of dealing with it all head on. He was just a kid and as mature and adult as he often seemed, he just didn’t have the life experience to cope with what he saw as a betrayal by Dom. Hindsight is 20/20, though. I probably would have reacted much like Bear in the heat of things and so I can’t judge too much, I suppose.
In the, almost, 4 years that Dom and Ty are apart, Ty meets Corey/Kori, a bigender young man who is really extraordinary (for the sake of simplicity, I am going to use the pronoun ‘he’, but do know that it doesn’t always apply). They date for awhile, but Corey breaks up with Ty saying they would be better off as friends. When we first meet Corey/Kori, I didn’t want to like him. At all. He was encroaching on what was Dom’s (but, of course that wasn’t really true, was it). It didn’t take me long to be completely thankful that Corey/Kori came into Ty’s life. Ty needed someone that would tell him things he doesn’t want to hear, but needs to. Ty needed an ally. Ty needed a friend that wasn’t not a parental figure.
Once the family went back in Seafare, my heart broke all over again every time Dom and Ty interacted. Ty knew he was being unreasonable and he knew he owed Dom an apology, but every time he saw Dom, he felt so angry, he had trouble getting past it. It took Ty weeks to get up the nerve to actually talk to Dom and he got some questions answered but he was afraid to ask what he really wanted to know. They danced around each other expertly. Thank goodness for Corey. He, also very expertly, manipulated both Dom and Ty to force them (particularly Ty) to face what they really meant to each other. And it’s a process.
It takes them some time, but Dom is a patient man and he is not letting go this time. When Dom and Ty finally came together, it made my heart sing. they still have a ways to go, but they will get there. They are strong. Stronger than they know. And I really look forward to the rest of their story.