Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

I Want To Be This Hotel’s Eloise

Erin books a stay at the hotel Wilfair from Alysia Gray Painter's novel, which has an indoor ferris wheel and a 500 Dip Bar!

I Want To Be This Hotel’s Eloise

Book Report for Wilfair (Wilfair Book 1) by Alysia Gray Painter

Cover Story: Totally Wasted On An EPub
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talky: If Angela Chase and FYA Had a Baby, And That Baby Wrote a Book . . .
Bonus Factors: Hotel Life, Dips, College-Aged Protagonist
Relationship Status: The First Date That Totally Took Me By Surprise

Cover Story: Totally Wasted On An EPub

Y'all. Y'ALL. I FUCKING LOVE THIS COVER SO MUCH. I'm sorry to use strong languange (ha, no I'm not), but why can't more covers look like this? It's simple but bright; it includes no stupid emo-faces or partially clothed bodies and it manages to evoke the nostalgic whimsy of the book with very simple details! Thank you, cover designer!

However, considering that so far this book is only available in epub format, this wonderful cover is pretty much totally wasted. Still. I lovingly look at it from time to time on my iPad's Kindle app, just stroking it with longing. Of course, because I have an iPad, the second I stroke it with longing, the screen swipes to the next page. Ugh, stupid Steve Jobs. Doesn't he realize poeple need to occassionally stroke computer screens with longing?

The Deal:

Fair Finley is the type of 20 year old that 8 year olds really want to be. By that, I mean that she runs her own crazy-elaborate hotel, dresses in ridiculous costumes every day, and eats cake for breakfast. Actually, Fair Finley is the type of 20 year old that I want to be.

But even though that all sounds like a charmed life, Fair's is anything but. First of all, her parents named her Fair. Second, she has been tutored/fast-tracked through school and college so that her parents could dump one of their hotels, the Wilfair, into her managerial hands. Her staff doesn't really respect her; she only has one friend; her younger twin brothers, Wil and Bo, get up to all sorts of antics which Fair usually has to solve with a fruit basket, and her parents really want Fair to steal her neighbors' motel. And Fair, well . . Fair really kind of likes those neighbor boys.

See, the Wilfair has a lot going for it - a 500 Dip Bar, an indoor Ferris Wheel, and a made-up ghost named The Lady in Sequins. But what it doesn't have - and what the motel right next door does have - is a pool. And Fair's parents are determined that Fair take that pool, by any means necessary.

But while Fair and her motel-running neighbors, Montgomery 1 and Montgomery 2, are duking it out over property rights, some crazy shizz starts going down at both locations. Tar bubbles that smell of Paris springing up from nowhere, shape-shifting rooms and, possibly, an actual Lady in Sequins are just some of the whackadoo things that Fair and the Montgomeries have to deal with. Can they work together? Or will they be divided by much more than just the span of a swimming pool?

BFF Charm: Yay!

Oh, Fair Finley, I feel for you. At first I thought you should buck the hell up and quit yer gripin' about living in a hotel, but I soon came to see that it's not all tea and biscuits for you. Your parents have been pretty much emotionally and physically unavailable for half your life, your brothers are shitheads, and you have the social skills of the boy in the bubble.

But you also have a tendency to blurt out the absolutely wrong thing at all times, an inability to tell people "no," and a deep, everlasting love of dip. So not only will I give you my BFF charm, but I'll also draw a quick blood sample to ensure that we're not actually the same person.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Ah, the Mongomeries. Or, as they are called for clarification, Monty and Gomery. They're both totally swoony and dreamy, though I, like Fair, am particularly drawn to Gomery and his loosened tie and his strong forearms.

There's no real action in this book (see above, in re: Fair's social skills), but there's definitely enough longing and flustered responses and head-scratching does-he-like-me scenes to spark a little swoony fire in your heart.

Talky Talk: If Angela Chase and FYA Had a Baby, And That Baby Wrote a Book . . .

You may, if you love FYA and My So-Called Life, think that this sounds like the best book ever written. However, if you are honest with yourself, as I try to be when it is convenient for me, you will realize that an entire book written like we write this blog combined with foot-shuffling, navel-gazing hems and haws can make for a difficult reading experience.

I really liked this book, but it needed a stronger editor, someone to say, "Form sentences. Use action verbs. Introduce your characters before referring to them with nicknames or pronouns."

That said, eventually this book settled down a bit and found its rhythm, and I'm really glad I stuck with it, because by the end I adored it. Plus, I got to read sections where Fair accidentally insulted someone because she was nervous, which is something I do ALL THE TIME. Check this part, where Fair is trying to soothe one of the brides getting married at the hotel:

I smiled and hugged her shoulders from a distance, avoiding her recently gelled hair wispage. "Wow. You look just like twenty boxes of tissue, emptied, and made into a dress. Your skin and hair and human parts don't. And the parts that do, look like all the dumped-out tissue are really pretty, I mean. This is all a compliment. Despite what it sounds like. Sorry. I'm sorry." . . . She thank-hugged me and froofed away, looking very much like twenty boxes of tissues in sudden, surreal flight.

Bonus Factor: Hotel Life

Okay, so, yeah. It turns out that living in a hotel isn't actually all that it's cracked up to be. I can see that. I mean, I've been in a hotel for a week and already I'm giving the side-eye to the perkily-folded towels that the housekeeper insists on replacing every single day. I only use the one towel a day, lady! Stop replacing all of them!

That said, um, Fair's hotel has a giant indoor ferris wheel. I mean, HOW AWESOME IS THAT? So, sure, she has to put up with a lack of privacy and constantly being on the clock, but GIANT INDOOR FERRIS WHEEL. Give me some cotton candy and that's basically my idea of Heaven.

Bonus Factor: Dips

Ha, okay, so Fair's parents are sort of widely known for their cherry-on-top-of-the-cherry approach to hotels, by which I mean they are the Abu Dhabi Sheik of hotels: all flash, little substance. One of their outlandish details is the 500 Dip Bar, which has - you guessed it - 500 different kinds of dip. Just . . . I just want you to close your eyes right now. Are your eyes closed? Good. Now let yourself imagine 500 different kinds of dips. (Wait, your eyes are closed, so you can't read this. Open your eyes again! Yoohoo!) Five hundred different ways to season or sauce your french fries, crudite, fruit, marshmallows or bread. 500 different dips.

I mean . .. it sounds fucking awesome, no? I personally can only think of about 50 dips off the top of my head. Multiply that by 10? That's Dip Heaven, baby.

Bonus Factor: College-Aged Protagonist

Oh my god, a book written about a character who is actually, legally, and technically a young adult! I'm not knocking teenagers - teens are awesome, when they aren't busy being dicks - but there's just something special about reading a book about a 20 year old. More of these, please, publishers!

Casting Call:

Jennifer Lawrence as Fair Finley

Ha ha, I know! But I'd like to see J Law play someone who is actually a little flighty and pampered. It'd make a nice departure from all the grime and the killings!

After my Ultimate TV Marathon with my friends the other day, the only people I could picture for the Montgomeries were the Winchester boys:

Jensen Ackles as Gomery

Jared Padalecki as Monty

(Also, I tried to find a photo of Jared LongLastName where he doesn't look like an emo ballsack. It was surprsingly difficult.)

Relationship Status: The First Date That Totally Took Me By Surprise

Look, I'm not going to lie. This book asked me out, not the other way around. And, yeah, the book was funny and charming in its emails to me, but I'm a Dating Professional, so even though I agreed to go out on a date, I was going to withhold judgement for a while. Make it sweat, you know?

And, I'll be honest - the date started off a bit rocky. And I was a little downhearted. "You were so funny and cute when you asked me out!" I thought. "Can't we go back to that?" But I thought to myself, "No. This book has something." So I stuck with this book, and I'm really glad I did, because midway through our date,ittotally won my heart. I found myself nodding in agreement with everything it was saying and laughing at its crazy anecdotes.

So when this book mentioned the possibility of a second date? It was pretty much all I could do not to call back and schedule it immediately. P.S. Book, Take me on our second date already!!!!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy by Alysia Gray Painter. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Wilfair is available through Amazon.com and various other epub websites now (and it's only $2.99! What have you got to lose?).

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
K