As soon as I read the dedication page, “For the odd girls, the nerdy girls, and the murderinos. This one is yours” , my face lit up and I just knew I was going to love this book!
The Sun Down Motel is getting A LOT of hype and pre-pub buzz. Usually I’m skeptical of over hyped books, but The Sun Down deserves all the praise it’s receiving!
The Plot: In 1982 Viv Delaney mysteriously goes missing in the middle of her night shift at The Sun Down Motel, a run down, sketchy roadside motel.
Fast Forward to present day: Viv’s neice, Carly, has always wondered about her aunt Viv. What happened to her? Why doesn’t anyone talk about it? Is she still out there somewhere? These are the questions Carly needs answers to. So she takes it upon herself to figure out what happened. Carly decides to visit the town where her aunt went missing. One thing leads to another and Carly finds herself working the same night shift as her aunt.
But things at The Sun Down start to get weird. Supernatural even.
The Characters: The book is told in alternating narratives: Viv’s and Carly’s. I absolutely LOVED Carly. She is like a long lost sister. She is nerdy, loves true crime, and is so very endearing. I loved reading about her.
The Writing: I’ve heard some criticisms about the writing of this book. I actually enjoyed the writing style. Some found the writing repetitive, I can see where those reviewers are coming from, but that wasn’t my experience of the book. I think the writing style is simple (in a good way that made the book very “readable”- if that makes sense) and not over-fluffed.
My favorite part of this book is how atmospheric it is. Through the writing, you truly get the feel of the motel and the haunting, creepy experiences that ensue.
This is definitely one I recommend you check out when it is published!
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
The opening scene of this book really pulls you in and sets the tone for what the reader is in store for. The book opens up with Emira, a twenty five year old babysitter, being accused of kidnapping the little girl she babysits. Emira is black and the little girl is white- this causes a security guard to assume Emira is doing something wrong. That and the fact that it is late at night.
Emira is such a great character. She’s so relatable and struggles with real issues facing many people in their mid twenties. I also loved her humor!
Kiley Reid’s writing is minimalist and goes down smoothly. It’s not stuffy or overly wordy. I think that this style of writing often goes under appreciated. There aren’t necessarily moments of beautiful imagery or moving prose; it’s more simple, yet impactful, observations. I enjoy this style of writing- I find it real and relatable. And also Very reader friendly.
This book isn’t super plot heavy; it’s more of a character driven story as well as a commentary on relationships, race, and class. It makes for the perfect book club or group read, I’m not at all surprised that Reese’s bookclub picked it up!
I also listened to portions of this book on audio. The narration is fantastic, and it is one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. Huge kudos to the narrator!
I definitely recommend you pick this one up!