Shadyside is a book reviews blog. I kind of feel relieved saying that. My blog started sometime in 2015 at a different domain. I was blogging primarily personal entries about my life. I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a middle school teacher a couple years after that and decided that I wanted to limit how much of myself was online. I have never been a very private person, but I did not want my students to Google me and be all up in my relationships, my family business, my personal thoughts, and well, you get the idea. I decided to blog just about my fandoms, the things I am into. The trouble was, I’m into a lot. I was trying to make my blog too many things, and as such, it began to lack focus and organization, and it drove me nuts. 

What I found I was doing the most, and what I thoroughly enjoyed doing was writing about books I read. More specifically, I decided to read some book series I read as a kid and analyze them as an adult: Animorphs by K. A. Applegate, and Goosebumps and Fear Street by R. L. Stine. I started reminiscing in entries and in some cases, making fun of the cheesiness of the books. What I found as I went along, however, is many of these books hold up really well today, and I think readers, and especially reluctant readers, would enjoy them today. I decided to start analyzing these books more seriously with the intent of showing off what these books have to offer. I am an English concentration in college, so I love literary analysis. I am excited by the prospect of analyzing the crap out of an Animorphs, Goosebumps, or Fear Street book. That’s what I do here. Well, it’s half of what I do here.

As fun as being nostalgic is, I read more than 90s adolescent fiction, and you will see entries about various other books I read pop up from time to time. My intent, however, is to stay consistent with my goal for this site: to analyze books I think adolescents will enjoy and to show off what they have to offer. I absolutely plan to continue writing about Animorphs, Goosebumps, and Fear Street, so hang around for that, but keep an eye out for posts about other books, too. 

I do want to warn you that it took a little while for me to find my rhythm and figure out what I wanted to do with my entries, so some of my older entries are really bad. I will revisit some of those books in time.

To summarize, I’m going to

  1.  be nostalgic as hell.
  2.  recommend books for adolescents and analyze the crap out of them.


There are three types of posts you will see pop up here on Shadyside: features, reviews, and recaps.

Features are concentrated posts that cover an element of a book. I may talk about a book’s structure, a particular character, or a literary device. You may see more than one feature pop up for one book.

Reviews are extremely opinionated posts that discuss why I did or did not like a book. I haven’t written a review yet, but I know I will. 

Recaps are posts that are bathed in nostalgia. They cover book series I read as a kid and want to re-experience as an adult. They analyze plots, talk about what I like and don’t like, and point out what readers can gain from reading the books today. I am currently recapping R. L. Stine’s Fear Street and Goosebumps series and K. A. Applegate’s Animorphs series.


Shadyside is the fictional city the Fear Street series takes place. I wanted a fun name, and I liked the look and sound of Shadyside. Shadyside.blog launched on June 9th, 2020, although I brought over entries from my last blog that date back to 2017, so this is hardly a new site. I consider it a relaunch: a refocus and a fresh start.

The header image in the layout was drawn for me by my friend Todd Larkey, an amazing artist and a fun dude.


The best way to contact me is to leave me a comment on any entry here (or even on this page). I get an e-mail notification when someone comments on my blog, and I respond to every comment. You may also feel free to shoot me an e-mail at whittaker.todd(at)gmail.com.

Here are some answers to questions I have been asked in the past:

  1. If you have a books blog or a site with similar content, I will exchange links with you. Just send me your URL.
  2. I review Goosebumps and Fear Street books mostly randomly. I try to read the Animorphs books in order. 
  3. I do take Goosebumps and Fear Street review requests. If there is one you want to see me do next, let me know!

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