The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James – The You’ll Read Too Bookclub: JANUARY 2021

Hi all!

Welcome back to the bookclub! In January, we read The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! If you wish to access all of the latest updates/information, click here. Spoilers ahead!

Quick Reminder: This month we are reading Horrid by Katrina Leno.

Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do the IGTV videos. You can find the IGTV video for this talk on my bookclub Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please, please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you want to guess without being spoiled, don’t scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!



Upstate NY, 1982: Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden. In the modern day, Carly moves to Fell to discover what happened to her aunt Viv but it isn’t long before she gets caught up in the same horrors that befell her mother’s sister…


I gave this book a 4/5 stars. It was a highly addictive read that I flew through; eager to learn how it was going to end. I will admit, I was hoping for more spooks and scares. It started off really creepy but simmered down as the story progressed. However, the plot itself was extremely intriguing. I loved the true crime aspects, feminist undertones and shifts through time. If you go into the book expecting more of a murder mystery as opposed to a horror novel, you’ll be a big fan.


I gave the scare-factor a rating of 3/5. As I mentioned above, the story started off very spooky. The ghosts in the motel were terrifying and nothing creeps me out more than doors opening without any assistance. However, that’s where it ended. The horror died down significantly after that.


1.) Why is Cathy Caldwell’s death given more attention than Victoria Lees? 

There was a very important message in this novel about the violence towards women and how the victims were treated afterwards. I believe Cathy Caldwell’s death was given more attention because she was already a mother and wife whereas Victoria Lee was unmarried and childless. Therefore, she was deemed as a ‘less important’ victim that was ‘asking for it’ by going for a jog alone. Based on her status, she was inferior to Cathy which is beyond wrong for so many reasons. 

2.) Why do you think the characters are so drawn to the town of Fell and never leave? 

Fell is an atmospheric town full of mystery, secrets and paranormal activity. I believe it is these very elements that keep the townspeople coming back for more. 

3.) Do you believe Viv ultimately did the right thing? 

Absolutely! Viv needed to protect herself and the other women in the town. She sacrificed her life and years to ensure that history didn’t continue to repeat itself. Aside from the one female cop, nobody cared nor paid attention to what was happening so Viv took matters into her own hands. I’m so proud of her!

4.) Was the character of Nick Harkness really necessary to the story? 

I got to the end of the book and was a little unsure whether Nick was a necessary character. I didn’t think Carly needed a love interest amidst all the chaos. He might have served as a red herring but an entire back story was created for him that didn’t really go anywhere. I’m a little lost on this one. 

5.) In what ways were Carly and Viv similar to one another? 

They were brave, independent women that were desperate to search for the truth. They both held such strong purposes and were not afraid to get their hands messy in the hunt for justice. I was in awe of the author’s ability to create such distinct parallels between the two characters while still managing to give them individual personalities. 


Easy: What year does Viv Delaney disappear? 

Medium: What is Heather taking at Fell College?

Hard: Name two aliases the travelling salesman uses. 

I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the bookclub, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!

Peace & Love xoxo

TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: 1982. Medium: Medieval Literature. Hard: James March & Michael Ennis. 

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