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The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James book review

 

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James


The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James book review


The sundown motel by Simone St. James. So this is a suspense-slash horror kind of novel. It's a ghost story. And in this story, you are following two different storylines. 

The first one is set in the early 1980s and you are following Viv Delaney. She has recently decided to leave her home. She's like college age approximately. 

And she's decided to leave her home, leaving behind her mother and her sister because she doesn't really get along with any of them. 

And she basically tells her mom that she's going to leave to go to New York City in order to become an actress. 

However, instead of ending up in New York City, she ends up in a small town in New York called Fell. And she ends up at the Sundown motel. 

She was like hitchhiking and realized she was in a not great situation. So she basically just like got out and ended up at the motel. And she originally gets there and plans on just like staying the night and figuring out her plans from there. 

But then the owner of the motel was like at the front desk when Viv shows up and tells her that she's allowed to stay there free of like rent as long as she's willing to work the night shift. 

And so Viv ends up staying in town and working the night shift. But as she's working there, she realizes that not everything is quite on the up-and-up at this motel in a variety of ways. 

Then one day she disappears. The other storyline that you're following here takes place in modern day. I think the date in here is like 2017, but you know basically modern day. And you are following this character named Carly. 

Carly's mom just recently passed away and she has decided to head to Fell, New York to figure out whatever happened to her Aunt Viv. She didn't realize that she had this aunt until recently. 

Her mother never talked about her really. But she found out about this aunt and then realized that she had gone missing and no one really knew what exactly happened. 

And so she decides to head to Fell to figure out what exactly is going on. And once she gets there she ends up basically becoming friends with a girl who lives in an apartment complex and also ends up taking the night shift job at the Sundown motel. 

And while she is trying to figure out what exactly happened you know 30-plus years ago, she realizes that there are some weird things going on at this motel. 

So I read broken girls by Simone St. James I think back in like 2018 and I enjoyed that book. 

I thought it was really interesting. That one is also historical fiction and modern fiction sort of mix because there is a past storyline and a present storyline and it has to do with like boarding school type of situation in Vermont. 

And that's a book that has like a little bit of a ghost element woven into it but it's not like a full-on ghost story. 

This one is a full-on ghost story. And I went into this book pretty blind. I didn't really pay attention to the synopsis even really. I mean, I paid attention to the synopsis 

but I wasn't really paying attention to what other people were saying. But I had seen like a general vibe of like positive reactions to this book. And again, I liked broken girls, which is why 

I got this one from Book of the Month as well. And I didn't realize that this one would be leaning even more into ghost story side of things. And originally when I first started reading this book, 

I was a little bit hesitant because I wasn't sure how that was gonna vibe with me because I'm not really a horror reader. 

I actually got along with it pretty well. It's one of those things where you just kind of have to go along with it no matter where you fall in the spectrum of believing in ghosts. You kind of just have to buy into the fact that ghosts are thing in order for this to work. 

But I have to say that this book really freaked me out but it wasn't the ghost stuff that freaked me out. 

This genuinely has like some really suspenseful moments. It's suspenseful enough that I had to put the book down because I could feel sort of like my anxiety growing. 

I was also reading this book a lot at night, which I did that like multiple days in a row. And every time I would get to a part that was like really suspenseful or even like had to do with the ghosts and was like a little bit creepy, I would be like why am i reading this book right now? 

This was a terrible idea. But at the same time, I didn't stop reading it because the book was that compelling to me. I wanted to know how this was gonna wrap up. I wanted to know what happened to Viv. 

I wanted to know what was gonna happen to Carly, if she was going to survive all of the stuff that was going on. I just overall really enjoyed this book a lot. But I will say that it did give me a little bit of anxiety. 

So if you are in a situation right now where you can't really handle that extra anxiety, then maybe don't pick up this book. But if you can handle it / you are ok with it, then I think that this is like a really intriguing book. 

Obviously like the ghosts part of this story is sort of leading to this larger discussion. 

In my opinion, really good horror does this thing where it's basically like creating a space to make commentary on certain things in society. And I think that this book does that particularly well. 

It's not subtle by any means what is trying to say here. But it does have to deal with the way that women are treated in our world. Both Viv and Carly are these young women who are living in these small towns and the way that they're viewed or just ignored. 

There's a lot of discussion in here in terms of like the general anxiety that women feel and single women specifically feel existing in the world and the way that they are constantly warned about the terrors that are happening around them, and what they should be suspicious of and what they shouldn't be suspicious of, and the way that they're supposed to act around certain people in certain situations.

All of that is commented on in this book because that's partially what the story is about. 

Viv and Carly, in both timelines, are young women living on their own, working these night shifts and facing these dangers that in other situations if they were men they probably wouldn't be in these situations and things like that. 

I have a feeling that the ending of this book is going to be very like hit or miss with people. There are certain like twists and reveals that happen towards the end of the book that personally I really enjoyed. 

I think it's partially because like I was so sucked into the story, I didn't spend a lot of time trying to guess what was going on. They do start to like slowly give hints of things that are happening and that can kind of lead you in the direction that this book is going. 

But overall I really enjoyed it. I will say like the one thing I will knock this book for is because this book is told in dual timelines, you'll see like things occur in Viv's life and in Viv's timeline and then you'll basically watch Carly in like the next chapter put all of the pieces together in order to figure out that event that you had just read about. 

And it can sometimes feel a little bit repetitive because you're basically just like rereading or rediscovering the same information. And I do realize like you kind of have to go through that because you have to show how Carly is figuring out all of the stuff that you had just learned. 

But it did feel a lot of times that you are like doubling up on information or you're just rereading information that Carly is just figuring out for the first time. It does feel like there's a lot of those situations where the reader knows more than Carly does and you're like having to wait for her to figure it out for a lot of the chapters. But it does put a lot of things into perspective as well in terms of like the way that victims of crimes are written about and talked about. 

And how you can very easily assume that you know what's going on but unless you were actually there you don't really know what was going on. And how like people think that like just because you read a news report about a certain situation that you know all the truths. 

So it does provide a little bit of that contrast. But I can see like some people getting really annoyed of the fact of like having to see Viv go through something and having to like relive that exact same scene except through Carly's eyes. But yeah, overall I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. 

I think this is the kind of like horror that I can handle because it's pretty grounded in reality. And the ghost parts and the horror parts felt very like in the background, until it's like not really in the background anymore. 

So yeah, I feel like if you're someone who doesn't read a lot of horror, this is like a good borderline sort of book to dip your toes into the water if you are interested in reading some horror books. 

Because this is really like suspense horror and the ghost story part is like a good kind of in-between of like true horror book. But I do feel like I should mention the fact that this book does get like scary and violent and intense at times. 

But yeah, I think for me like the mystery in the 1980s storyline was like so fascinating to me that that was really what compelled me and the 2017 stuff or the modern day stuff wasn't quite as compelling to me. 

Although I did want to see what had happened to Viv. But I found like what Viv was doing in a flashback storyline to be the most compelling part of this book. 


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