Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale

Catch Me If You Can is a memoir by Frank Abagnale, who at the age of FIFTEEN years old, started pretending to be an airline pilot, and everyone around him believed him. By the age of 18, he had moved on to pretending to be a doctor and went on to accidentally become the chief pediatrics resident for a year, and then the next year he pretended to be a lawyer! This book was just so incredible, and it really goes to show you that if you act confident, you really can go a long way.

Even if you don’t typically read non-fiction, then I highly recommend this book. It’s a great book to get into non-fiction with and shows that it can be just as immensely readable and un-putdownable as any fiction book. And did I mention this was turned into a movie starring Leonadro DiCaprio and Tom Hanks? And then it went on to become a Broadway musical as well.

This book had me from page one, and it got me out of my month long book slump that I was in. It was just what I needed.

I don’t want to give too many details about the book because it’s just a fun ride, but I do want to talk about a few things:

It’s no secret that he eventually gets caught (because he published this book while he’s still alive), but not before evading the FBI numerous times! Some of the ways he evaded them were just so creative and hilarious – like he escaped from an airplane after it landed by exiting through the toilet.

But before that, he was eventually caught in France, where he was sentenced to a year in prison. And the chapter describing his time there was just gruesome and horrific. I can’t believe that the way France treats prisoners was allowed in the 20th century, much less still allowed in 2018! It disgusted me so much I have no words for it. I don’t have the stomach for it right now, but maybe later I’ll add a couple of passages from the book here to demonstrate exactly what I mean. I honestly never even want to visit France after reading this if the government and people there are okay with treating human beings like animals.

After six months, he was somehow let go and then extradited to Sweden, which is now my favorite country ever because they treat their prisoners so much better. Prisoners don’t just sit around in jail cells and can actually contribute to society. When Frank told the officer in his case that he wasn’t co-operating because he didn’t want to spend 20 years, she laughed at him. Why? Because in Sweden, even murderers don’t spend more than 10 years in prison typically! For his crime, he would only be sentenced to one.

Eventually, he came back to America and was sentenced to 12 years in prison (not before evading the FBI a few more times, though). He served 4 and then was put on probation, and this is another problem the book highlights: the difficulty for prisoners to get honest work after being in prison. He would get hired for a job, do so well that they would want to promote him to manager, but then they’d run a background check and discover that he’s a convicted felon and fire him. And repeat. That happened to him several times and it’s so disheartening. Something about this whole system needs to be changed if we really want to rehab ‘criminals’.

I absolutely loved this book, but if I had any negative thing to say, it would be this: several times throughout the book we read about the FBI agent, O’Reilly, who’s on his case and trying to catch him. He nearly misses him several times, but by the time we get to the end, we don’t even get to see a single confrontation with him, and I feel like the book ended rather abruptly. But again, I can’t highly recommend this book enough.

If you enjoyed this book, you will also enjoy:
Suits, a tv show in which the main character also pretends to be a Harvard-educated lawyer.
Imposters, a tv show in which a group of people are conned by the same woman and end up becoming con men/women themselves.

Know any others similar to it? If so, comment and let me know!

Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back #2) by A. V. Geiger

01. Follow Me Back ★★★★

This was a good conclusion to the duology. It picks up a little after the last book left off with Eric Thorn’s disappearance (about a month later – February). And the chapters are interspersed with interrogation transcripts from three months later (May 1, 2017) so we know a homicide has occurred, but we don’t know who has died.

One note about Dorian – He plays a small role in this book, but I feel like his storyline could have wrapped up better. At one point it seems like he has been in communication with Tessa and Eric, and then it turns out he hasn’t. It was someone else. I feel like that could have been explained better.

Also, every time there would be a big plot point, I feel like they would just jump forward in time a month without resolving it/giving enough details. On the other hand, I feel like the first half of the book was a little TOO wordy and I started skimming. The latter half had me on the edge of my seat though.

I will say this – I enjoy YA thrillers a WHOLE LOT MORE than adult thrillers. At least all the adult ones I’ve read are not very creative with their ‘why’, and that ends up ruining the book. They’re mostly ALL domestic thrillers with an abusive husband. Boring. They made me want to give up on the genre entirely, but this book reminded me that thrillers can actually be done well (such as Sara Shepard’s The Perfectionists and The Amateurs.

If you enjoy books about fans meeting/dating their favorite celebrities, then you’ll also enjoy:
Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith

If you want to read a book that really humanizes a ‘stalker’ and goes into her backstory, I recommend:
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

And for tv shows about fans meeting/dating celebrities check out:
The Arrangement (probably one of my favorite shows on tv right now!)
Famous in Love
Jane the Virgin (there’s an episode or two where Rogelio’s stalker finds him and holds him captive)

Have any other suggestions? Comment and let me know! I will check them out and add them to my list!

Cast Long Shadows (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, #2) by Cassandra Clare

“Old sins cast long shadows.” 

Before I begin, a couple of notes: this is the second story in The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology, and it takes place in 1901. This whole book should be read after The Infernal Devices because there will be major spoilers for one of the characters in that series at least. Also, this book is about Matthew Fairchild, Charlotte Branwell’s son (from The Infernal Devices). He has her last (maiden) name of Fairchild because she was the Consul. He’s not directly mentioned in The Infernal Devices, but his older brother is mentioned at the end of Clockwork Princess. I think he’ll be one of the main characters in the upcoming series, The Last Hours. So I guess these books could also be considered a prequel for that?

This story starts in the same way as The Son of the Dawn, with Brother Zachariah at The Shadow Market, but in London 1901. He runs into Matthew Fairchild here, and then there’s a flashback to Idris 1899. We learn that he’s best friends with James Herondale, who has the ability to transform into a shadow. James is at odds with Alastair Carstairs, who ends up getting James expelled from the Shadowhunter Academy.

And then Will Herondale makes an appearance! (And he now runs the London Institute.)

We learn Matthew tried to befriend James, but James typically keeps to himself and is found reading. James does eventually agree to be his parabatai! And here begins a Herondale/Fairchild friendship.

One of the main conflicts seems to be that Alastair has put it into Matthew’s head that he is Gideon’s child, not Henry’s as Henry is an “invalid”. Meanwhile, Jem is on a commission to find a book at the Shadow Market.

Matthew runs into a faerie at the Market and has this exchange:

“Ah, well. ‘He has nothing, but he looks everything. What more can one desire?” Matthew quoted. “Oscar Wilde. Do you know his work? I heard faeries like to steal poets. You should definitely have tried to steal him.”

The woman laughed. “Perchance we did. Do you wish to be stolen, honey sweet boy?”

I liked the random bits of humor that are present in all of Clare’s work as well: Perhaps Matthew should spend his time brooding over a forbidden passion like James was currently doing.

Matthew decided to give unrequited love a try. He stared out the window with all the pensive force he could muster. He was preparing to pass a hand across his fevered brow and murmur “Alas, my lost love” or some other such rot when he was abruptly rapped upon the head with a book.

Honestly, Jamie was lethal with that thing.

“Are you quite well, Matthew?” Jamie inquired. “Your face suggests you are suffering from an ague.” 

Back to the story: Later on, Matthew slips some truth serum into the scones everyone will eat for breakfast to see if there is any truth to Alastair’s accusation and when there are consequences, Brother Zachariah is called in. Jem tells him he will keep his secret, but that he should share it with someone. Matthew replies coldly denying everything about the Shadow Market. I didn’t understand this scene at all because we know he’s ridden with guilt, and immediately after this scene he does try to go and confess to James, so why the sudden coldness with Jem?

The story ends with a short scene from Jem’s perspective where he is re-united with Tessa and we even get a brief scene with him and Will!

Other characters:
Christopher and Thomas Lightwood Christopher and Thomas are cousins (Christopher is Gabriel and Cecily’s child, Thomas is Gideon and Sophie’s). That makes James Herondale Christopher’s cousin. And Thomas is one of the few people Alastair will listen to.
Charles Buford – Matthew’s older brother and Charlotte’s son. Charlotte has no close family and Henry’s family didn’t approve of Charlotte being Consul.
Alastair Carstairs – Jem’s cousin. (It’s his uncle Elias’s son.) Has a sister named Cordelia who is much nicer and actually likes Jem/Brother Zachariah. Lucie Herondale plans to be Cordelia’s parabatai.
Anna – a cousin of Matthew’s and who the next short story will be about
Ragnor Fell – a professor at the Shadowhunter Academy currently.

Why does Thomas look up to Alastair? Because he’s seen another side of him. (x) He is the fourth person Alastair likes, the first three being Cordelia, Charles Fairchild, and his mom. Alastair has issues at home (his dad didn’t come to get him) and at the Academy (because he’s half Persian). And there’s a whole lot more about Alastair in the post I linked.

[april 10] A sample of this novella can be found at the end of “Son of the Dawn.” This one will be released May 8. I just need to figure out who Matthew Fairchild is before then haha (I guess by reading The Infernal Devices. I’m stuck on the last book of The Mortal Instruments for now.)

1. Son of the Dawn by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (takes place in New York City 2000) ★★★★★
2. Cast Long Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (takes place in London 1901)
3. Every Exquisite Thing by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson (also takes place in 1901)
4. Learn about Loss by Cassandra Clare and Kelly Link
5. A Deeper Love by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson
6. The Wicked One by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman
7. Through Blood, Through Fire by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman
8. The Land I Lost by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan