Even the Score is the first in Meader’s new Tall, Dark and Texan series and is about Tess and Hunter. These two have a complicated history – Tess broke up Hunter’s wedding to her best friend several years ago. When they meet again by happenstance, it turns out that he’s found a way for her to repay him for such an intrusion on his life.

It’s a classic enemies-to-lovers story, Frienemies at its finest. The writing crackles, the banter is fantastic and the happily ever after is so satisfying I sighed a little out loud.

The problem is that I spent most of the book hating Tess and Hunter.

Characters do not need to be likable, I get that. This is not a knock on Meader’s writing or character development at all. It’s a well plotted and executed book and what she’s selling here she sells well. I am simply not an enemies-to-lovers fan, I suppose.

I know the fact that I didn’t like these people shouldn’t matter – great characters don’t need to be likable to be great and these are no doubt great characters – but for flipssake, they’re both so brokenly defensive and their emotional walls are thicker than a bank vault’s. Their first sexual encounters are so fueled by anger at each other that I found myself turned off instead of turned on. I also have a thing against people playing games with each other and that’s largely what this felt like to me.

At the end of the novel, they are finally honest with each other and I nearly cheered. Vulnerability can get you a long way in this life sometimes.

Because this is a slow burn book, you need a mature and slow burn drink. I’d say Gentleman Jack or a rich Shiraz.


Further reading:

  • Murder Mystery Company: America’s most popular dinner theater, there are locations all over the country. Probably of better quality than the theater Tess works in at the start of the novel!
  • Chicago Theaters: Chicago is a hub for loads of theaters and theatrical performances. Make sure to check them out if you’re ever in town!
  • History of Honky Tonks: One of the scenes in the book takes place at a honky tonk and Tess calls it “honest to goodness”. Here’s a history of them!


I purchased this book myself from Amazon. A version of this review also appears on Amazon for the page at the author’s request.