Book club questions for The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James covers all the twists and turns in this engaging and creepy story. For more context about the novel, check out my spoiler-free review here.
Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.
Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.
Book Club Questions for The Sun Down Motel
- Do you typically read ghost stories or do you tend to avoid anything scary?
- The story starts off with Viv in 1982. She’s scared but she knows she has to go into the hotel. What were your thoughts as you read the first chapter?
- What did you think about the dual timeline between Viv and Carly? In what ways are Viv and Carly very similar? How are they different?
- Why do you think Viv became so drawn to Fell and never went to New York City?
- Let’s talk about what all compelled Carly to investigate Viv’s disappearance in Fell. Why did she decide to work at the Sun Down Motel as well?
- So we know going in this was a ghost story and it sure did deliver! Especially on page 40, when Viv is trying to get away from the hotel and a woman ghost slams the hood of her car and tells her to leave. What were you thinking as you read this? Why did Viv keep coming back to the hotel after that experience?
- Both Viv and Carly works to solve the mysteries. Viv is focused on who murdered several women, while Carly is also tracking that but mainly wondering what happened to Viv. What did you think about the tactics of these amateur detectives?
- Did you think that Viv had been murdered or did you suspect she was still alive? What did you think when she showed up in the present?
- Let’s discuss the scene where she murders the serial killer Simon. Why do you think Viv stayed around the town after that?
- Let’s talk about the ghosts. Why did they only come out at certain times?
- What did you think about the dynamic between Carly and Nick?
- Did you have suspicions that something was off about the Callum guy? Was Betty the one who killed him? Why did his death cause the ghosts to leave and for the reveal of the true poor condition of the hotel?
- Why did Viv finally turn herself in? Carly seems to have mixed feelings about Viv—especially about the fact that her mother never go to find out that her sister was still alive. Let’s discuss all of this.
- What did you think about the ending? Why did Carly stay in Fell?
- Who would you cast in the main roles if they make a movie or TV version of this?
What to Read Next
Thanks for reading book club questions for The Sun Down Motel! If you’re looking for some more creepy stories, I’ve got you! Here are some recommendations along with link to book club questions.
Followers by Megan Angelo
OK, so Followers by Megan Angelo is not a story full of ghosts. But the depiction of the dangers of social media is downright chilling too. And it will make you re-think your own social media habits.
Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss—a striving, wannabe A-lister—who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady—and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.
Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity—twelve million loyal followers—Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.
Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
I’m picky about my thrillers but I was all in with The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica. This story is downright creepy too.
Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.
But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.
Also, if you haven’t already, you should become a member of Book of the Month! Each month, members select from five different books in a range of genres from thrillers to literary fiction to contemporary fiction to nonfiction to historical fiction and more. You also can get books ahead of their pub date—for instance, I received The Sun Down Motel weeks before it came out. Click here to sign up!