It's taken me a few days to analyze my reaction to this one. Without question it is the most unique take on the friends to lovers trope I've yet encountered.
Silas and Warren meet in preschool. They're basically enemies until 4th grade when they're finally placed in separate classes. They don't actually become friends until after a new boy, Talbot, moves to town when they're all in junior high. Warren is being bullied in the hallway, Silas and Talbot help him and just like that the three musketeers are created.
The characters in this book are all amazingly real. Each of the boys is different, has a different personality, different goals, different interests, yet they're all so vivid and so real. And Olivia! LOVE her!
What made this different from every other friends-to-lovers story I've read is that it was basically backwards. the traditional approach has the friends suddenly discovering an attraction, possibly acting on it, and then reacting to their new emotions until they eventually realize they're in love.
This one has the boys realize they're in love (at vastly different points in their lives, but still, they both do realize it) but wait to act on anything until they're sure that they're ready and at a point in their lives where they can devote adequate attention to a relationship as important as they know theirs will be. I loved that they respected each other and their friendship enough to be willing to do that.
I loved how Silas was able to do for Warren exactly the things he needed to feel loved without coming across as either manipulative or smothering.
I loved how Warren realized he wasn't ready for a relationship with Silas, no matter how much he loved him, and that it would be selfish to keep him from having relationships with other people in the meantime. However, this is what kept this from getting 5 stars for me. I know Silas didn't do it on purpose, because he had no idea how he or Warren felt, but most of this book felt like I was on the outside with Warren watching Silas flaunt his boyfriends for so many years. It made most of the book not very fun to read, always waiting for them to finally get to be happy instead of getting to actually see them be happy.
And I do like that the book ends with them on their way to being together and HEA, but I would have liked to have seen more of that part and less of the tortuous (and sometimes torturous) journey toward that point.