Heat (Fearless #8) by Francine Pascal
As "Rebel" ended, Mary dared Gaia to tell the truth about what happened to her parents. And Gaia, not wanting to lose the game, told her. She made the, from my perspective, poor choice to tell Mary that her father was a government agent. Gaia and her father were playing chess when someone fired on their home, shooting her mother. Her father was from that moment a changed man who looked at Gaia with dead eyes. When her mother died, her father left the room and never returned.
We also found out that Loki has a new informant, known as "BFF," and that Loki has Mary's home bugged. Is the bug in Mary's home the "BFF" informant? We don't know, but it seems, at this point, like a possibility. Through this bug, Loki heard Gaia tell Mary the tale of her mother's death and Loki has decided that Mary has to be eliminated because she now knows too much.
As "Heat" opens, it is nearing New Year's Eve and the kids are trying to decide what to do. Mary got lots of self-help books on addiction for Christmas, with little bits of money scattered throughout the pages. She has found all (or at least most) of the money and has been on a shopping spree. She got some tops and jeans for herself and the proverbial "little black dress" for Gaia. You see, Mary has convinced Gaia to go dancing and she refuses to go dancing with a cargo-pants-and-sweatshirt-wearing Gaia.
Sam also finds out about Heather's indiscretion with Charlie and is understandably upset about it. And he does exactly what one would expect a character in these books to do (After Gaia basically told Mary that Tom was a secret agent, I don't put any stupidity past these characters). Does he ask Heather? Nope. He takes his trusty fake ID and goes out and gets spectacularly drunk. This may prove not to be the best move he has ever made.
Loki has decided that Mary definitely has to be done away with and begins to plan Mary's untimely demise. He stalks her, trying to find the best time to make his move. Meanwhile, Mary has been researching Tom and Katia's deaths and after inexplicably adding the word "fire" to her search, found a news story about Katia Moore having died in a fire. She doesn't know whether to believe Gaia's version or the news story so she goes to her aunt, who works at the New York Public Library, for help. Again, not the brightest move ever.
The story reaches its climax on New Year's Eve. I picked up a standalone copy of the next book in the series, "Blood," and clearly misunderstood the blurb on the back. As a result, the ending came as something of a surprise to me.
Overall, I still intend to keep reading the series, but I hope that the teen protagonists develop something like common sense in the next few books or I will lose all sympathy for them.