Sometimes you want to read something light, fluffy, and fun. You're not looking for something that's going to win awards. Those are usually neither light nor fluffy. You just want a cute book that you can finish quickly. Something that doesn't make you think about the state of the world. In times like these, I know I can turn to one of my favorite authors, K.M. Shea. I don't know if she would want her books to be considered light and fluffy, but they kind of are. They're easy to read, and they're well-written. They're my favorite kind of books.
Shea's The Magical Beings' Rehabilitation Center series boasts light, fluffy, and fun books. The first book in the series is Vampires Drink Tomato Juice. We follow the story of Morgan Fae, a high school student in Chicago. She walks in on a weird substitute teacher getting into a strong (verbal) disagreement with his werewolf handler. The substitute teacher is actually a vampire. Morgan is then dragged into a world most humans don't know exist - that of magic and myths and ancient history. The fun thing about this story is that it's well thought out. There are a lot of random magical beings from many different cultures. I had to google some of them because I'd never heard of them.
For part two, we get Goblins Wear Suits. It is two years later, and Morgan is back with all of her magical friends. She now faces a real enemy - one who would prefer to eradicate humans and take over the world. All of the characters are the same, except for a bit of normal growth that is to be expected after two years. It's a bit darker than the first book, but it's kept pretty happy by humor and good people.
Third in the series is The Lost Files of the Magical Being's Rehabilitation Center: A MBRC Anthology. This one is actually a collection of short stories that occur after the second book. I'm including it because it's fun to see how the characters went on with their lives. You get resolution between Morgan and...the man she marries. I don't want to spoil it, so I won't tell you who. It's fun, though.
Literally anyone who can read at a junior high level can read these books. They’d probably appeal most to girls, however. There's nothing really scary in any of them. There's one part in the first book that is a bit awkward. Morgan obliquely references being a virgin, but she doesn't dwell on it, and it serves the purpose of making the reader feel as awkward as the character. She also has an excessive fondness for the word "pervert." Like, she uses it so many times that I want to smack her editor for letting that many uses of the same word go for so long.
This is a cute, quick read, but this is for someone who doesn't mind reading about high school students. I get that that isn't everyone's thing. It actually isn't mine either, usually, but I got really bored one day and tried these. I was pleasantly surprised. Morgan doesn't act whiny or stupid like so many of her teen literary counterparts. She often acts like a teenager, but she's not melodramatic.
Overall: I actually like these books a lot. My main issue with them is that Morgan doesn't have much to do with her family. They're in the background. She has three brothers who are mentioned periodically, but they don't really do anything in the stories. Her parents care about her and seem like good parents, but she doesn't let her family play a big role in her life. And that bothered me. I know in a lot of books, characters are made to be orphans or only children. I think that's because it's easier to write; it's simpler. You don't have extra people for whom you have to find roles. Shea did bring them in every so often, but I felt like they were neglected in one major part. At the end of the second book, there's a bit of an homage to A Wrinkle in Time. Morgan has to think of everyone she loves - and she doesn't include her family. She doesn't think of her family or her best friend who is included often in the story. She really only thinks of the people with whom she's connected in the magical community. Maybe there was a reason for this, but Shea didn't explain, and I found it lacking. But I still think these books are worth reading. They end properly, and they're fun.