Title: Prove It
Author: Chris Owen
Cover Art: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Prove It
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: 178 pages / 51,000 words
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Self-conscious echoes of the film Stand By Me continued without any tension or a dead body, but with real friendship, fun and a little gay sex.
Blurb: Warren and Silas meet for the first time at the age of five. It doesn’t go well.
When they reach junior high they have a truce in place and Tal, a new guy in their class, acts as a catalyst, bringing them together as best friends. Together all through high school, they survive school plays, Tal’s girlfriends, Silas’ boyfriend and Warren’s endless studying. College is more of the same, until Silas and Tal coax Warren out of the closet.
For Warren nothing changes, but for Silas the world has unexpectedly changed forever. He had no idea he was in love with his best friend at all, and when he finally tells Warren the reaction is another surprise.
Warren knows all about Silas, knows the tricks, the games, the very best and the very worst about him, and Warren loves him back. But Warren also knows that if they’re going to be together it’s got to be forever, and he can’t just risk everything for what might be another one of Silas’ whims.
Silas has to prove he loves Warren, and he wants to do just that. But how do you win the heart of someone who knows you better than anyone else?
This is an enjoyable, easy going read about the changing friendships between three very different young men. Silas is the Golden Child—spontaneous, over active, fun, happy and at ease with his sexuality. Warren’s whole life is about being intellectually focused. In his own very self-contained way he has categorized himself sexually—and somewhat ambiguously—as a late bloomer. He is introspective, brilliant, hard working and socially restricted by choice as he is not inept in such situations. Totally and precociously heterosexual, Tal, shares other interests with both Silas and Warren which facilitates the friendship between them. He is thoughtful, sensible, and able to compromise. Later his partner Olivia ends up sharing his role and mediates between the three of them when necessary. I suppose in many ways these are very self-conscious relationships.
As the three grow up there are some lovely shared experiences. The Stand By Me camping session reveals the boys different personalities appropriately and with a light touch. One of my favourite moments of the book was when Silas realises he is gay; which reveals so much about Silas’s own peculiar brand of joie de vivre, which is crossed with serenity and a splash of que sera, sera! Warren’s beautifully observed reaction and thoughts about this are at the heart of the book. The description of the prom also reveals more about Warren, his kindness and growing maturity.
Once the guys were at college I was a little less engaged with the book. I actually found Warren’s detachment a little too much like emotional selfishness. Whereas I thought Silas’ concern that, Someone was just fucking Warren and not making him feel special, revealed a lot about the essential warmth of his personality.
There is little or no tension to this story; it is almost always obvious that Silas and Warren will, in spite of themselves, get it together. So, finally both guys come to recognise that they need to address the love they feel, which brings us to the proof Warren demands Silas shows him. I was not convinced that it was completely justified. I’m not sure that Silas’ previous apparently easy-going jaunt through life was highlighted as particularly damaging to Warren. Though I suppose Silas did make a fairly casual play for him when his porn-watching scheme was on without thinking about the possible impact on their friendship. We are told of Warren’s vulnerabilities to Silas’ particular insouciance in a very moving speech, but we are not shown them. So this part of the book, for me, loses impact and affects the whole Prove it premise. However I did feel Silas’ proof was very thoughtful and sweet.
This was a fun read and I really liked getting to know the guys so intimately.