An emotional story about grief and support, Kyra Johnson
March 22, 2022
Don’t Think. Just Breathe was Sarah Delany’s way of dealing with her grief. The great amount of loss she experienced in such a short time was put on paper, and the pages soon turned to a story. It is the first book in the TNT trilogy and an emotional journey of love, grief and finding the best in the two main characters, Tate and Tamsyn.
Tate has recently moved to the school Tamsyn goes to. He has ‘let someone down so badly that there’s no turning back’ and been deeply affected by it. His parents send him to live with his cousin, JP, for a change of scenery. Before the school term starts, Tate is out on a run when he spots a girl sitting on the edge of the wharf in the middle of the night. He notices she is drunk, and she asks him if he would save her if she was drowning. Tate is confused by this, but he promises anyway. When school starts, Tate sees Tamsyn but she doesn’t remember him. She and her friends meanly brush him off, but Tate immediately notices that it pains Tamsyn to do so.
As they share classes, Tate gets to observe Tamsyn more carefully. He sees what no one else – not even her friends – sees: the pain radiating from her. Tate slips her a note to show her that he sees her pain and appreciates her just the way she is. As time goes on, they get to know each other a bit better, and Tamsyn starts to let people into her pain. She moves away from her group of friends and enters Tate’s. There are ups and downs for both of them, evident by Tate’s occasional panic attacks and Tamsyn’s emotional moments. But the two of them manage to find comfort and support in each other, and so their relationship grows ever closer. Just as things are finally starting to look up for both, tragedy strikes. Can they save each other?
Throughout the book, the characters face emotional and tender times. Both live by two words which help them to keep getting through the days when they find it almost too difficult to not break down and let it all out. Tate’s words are ‘don’t think’ and Tamsyn’s words are ‘just breathe’. This is where the title of Sarah Delany’s book comes from. I think, when you’re in a difficult situation, it is good to just breathe and not think about all the worst possible scenarios or bad memories.
I cannot really relate to this book because I have never lost a close family member like the characters had. I cannot understand their pain, but I can understand the support that is needed after such a thing happens. Tamsyn especially, who has let herself fall apart, needs Tate’s support. And she finds it in him. I think the main lesson of the book is to never bottle up your emotions or be closed off, because it destroys you more than you think. There is always someone out there who will listen to your cries for help.
I noticed that the book was written in the way teenagers would speak. I liked the way the author did this, but I did have some trouble adjusting to the different grammar and sentence structure used. The length of the chapters was good for me, and the plot was well thought out. Overall, I enjoyed it. I give it three stars out of five and recommend it to teens who like reading romance mixed with grief.
Kyra Johnson lives in Greymouth.