Review: The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune (Bear, Otter, & the Kid #3)

"It's inevitable, of course. 

The art of breathing always is."

The Art of Breathing is the third book in the Bear, Otter, & the Kid series by TJ Klune, and while Bear and Otter still play large roles here, the spotlight is shone on the Kid, who isn't really much of a kid anymore since this takes place about six years and then another four years after the end of the second book (not including the epilogue), Who We Are.

Tyson Thompson, formerly known as Tyson McKenna, is no longer the child genius he once was. Yes, he's still quite intelligent, still a vegetarian, and still a card-carrying member of PETA. He still experiences the "earthquakes" that make it difficult for him to breath and force him to get into a bathtub. On the other hand, he came out of the proverbial closet while giving his valedictory speech during his high school graduation, he's about to move to a different state for college, and his best friend, Dominic Miller, has leveled up to being his first love. 

During his first few months in college, Ty's blindsided with news from back home and, for the next four years, refuses to return home, and cuts of all communication with Dom. His panic attacks are given a formal diagnosis and he becomes addicted to the medication prescribed to him. He feels lost, unsure of what do with himself in school, making him feel like a failure for the first time in his academic life. Bear and Otter Thompson, his brother and brother-in-law, respectively, take him back home to Seafare, hoping to help him get back on track while on vacation.

Returning home forces Ty to once again face what he left behind--Dom. Many things have changed and that includes the only man he's ever loved but the same one he felt betrayed by. Ty wonders if his fractured friendship with Dom has any chance of being fixed and if it's something he's actually interested in doing. Ty learns certain truths about himself, his choices, his best friend, and his own personal history, leading him on his own journey of self-discovery and on the path of finally finding himself.

As has been the case in the previous books in the series, this third installment has the same wit, humor, angst, and wisdom that have become the hallmark of all things Bear, Otter, & the Kid. I liked that this book featured Ty while still including Bear, Otter, and the rest of the off-beat family that they've surrounded themselves with, and also introduced new characters that were memorable and just as nutty as the others. An older Ty also means an older Dom and the devolution and evolution of their relationship had the feel of a full circle moment. ^.^

The epilogue leaves the series open for a fourth, and possibly final, book. I'm sure it'll be bittersweet, as all books that close a series are. However, with the three books already available, an indelible mark has been left by the stories of Bear, Otter, and Ty and those around them. I really do love this series and I'm so glad that it has consistently maintained the wonderful storytelling quality it's had from book one onward. And yes, that means that The Art of Breathing gets five stars. ♥

Date read: 10 September 2014

Learn more about the truly talented TJ Klune here.

Grab a copy of Bear, Otter, & the Kid and Mr. Klune's other books on Amazon | Dreamspinner Press.