9 Whimsigoth Books to Charm Your Bookshelf

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Courtney Rodgers


Courtney has been reading and collecting books almost as long as she's been alive. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Creative Writing. Courtney has been writing with Book Riot since 2019, and is a Bibliologist with TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. She's currently brainstorming for her next creative project. You can follow her on Instagram.

Close your eyes and picture Sabrina Spellman’s iconic bedroom from Sabrina The Teenage Witch. What do you see? The stained glass windows, the purple walls, the layers of mismatched bedding, the giant spell book, and, of course, the Tiffany lamp. The very specific décor style of the Spellman home wasn’t just whimsical; it’s whimsigoth. What is whimsigoth? What does it mean, and why is it trending again in 2023?

Whimsigoth is the delightful collaboration between traditional gothic styles and whimsical style. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, whimsigoth was splashed across our TV screens on shows like SabrinaCharmedBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and present in popular fashion. Stevie Nicks is the queen of witchy, whimsigoth fashion.

The lived-in whimsigoth aesthetic features vintage décor, a mix of heavy and light textures, greenery, apothecary, and ~magical~ elements. Think ’90s grunge meets fairy tale.

Whimsigoth is both gloomy and warm, making it the ideal aesthetic for 2023. Underneath darker motifs and antique décor, whimsigoth offers optimism in the form of lush colors, softness, and belief in different kinds of magic. In book form, whimsigoth is all in the setting and tone.

Want to capture that dreamy fantasy of velvet and stars? Escape into one of these whimsigoth books and let the world disappear for a while.

garden spells cover

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

The Waverly Family has a reputation for their homegrown produce and the mysterious gifts that come with it. Years after disappearing, Sydney Waverly returns home, upending Claire’s life. As they try to make sense of their family’s legacy, Claire and Sydney reconnect with each other and their special gifts.

A Tall Dark Trouble cover

A Tall Dark Trouble by Vanessa Montalban

Sisters Ofelia and Delfi are wary of both love and magic, thanks to a family curse. When Delfi and Ofelia begin to have a series of worrying premonitions, they turn to friends for help to discover the truth. In 1980s Cuba, Anita struggles with the expectation of joining her mother’s coven. This YA novel explores the generational power of sisterhood, magic, and love.

cover of In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace, showing a black cat in a garden with a large three-story house behind it

In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace

The sleepy town of Evenfall has been under the watchful eye of the Warren witches until Constance Graves dies, leaving Nora Warren as the prime suspect. Brynn, the proprietor of the B&B, is determined to clear her aunt’s name. Using her own clairvoyant gifts and relying on her aunt’s help, can Brynn solve the case before Evenfall becomes a ghost town? This cozy mystery feels like an autumn episode of Gilmore Girls mixed with Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Cover of New Adult by Timothy Janovsky

New Adult by Timothy Janovsky

Aspiring comedian Nolan is in love with his best friend, Drew, but is afraid to ruin their friendship. When Nolan brings Drew as his date to his sister’s wedding, everything could fall into place. Nolan gets a call for his dream gig and doesn’t think twice about leaving. Devastated by the hurt he’s caused, Nolan makes an impulsive wish over crystal wedding favors and wakes up seven years in the future! To mend relationships and find his way back to the correct timeline, Nolan needs Drew’s help. This magical rom-com will have you double-checking your crystals before making wishes.

Squad cover

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle

When Becca moves to a new school, she finds her place with the in-crowd quickly. Her new friends seem perfect, but a party under the full moon reveals their big secret. Marley, Arianna, and Mandy satiate their werewolf appetites on predatory boys. Becca agrees to become a werewolf, too, but has complicated feelings about everything. This snappy graphic novel is perfect for a rainy Saturday morning.

cover of Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

The Flores family is known for their “gifts,” but it’s the last thing Sage wants to think about after the death of her sister. When she returns home after years away, Sage reluctantly takes her job at a plant shop. Her coworker just so happens to be her high school ex, Tennessee. As Sage explores her gifts and reconnects with her whole family, she finds that maybe there’s still something there with Tennessee, after all.

Practical Magic cover

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

The 1998 film version is the blueprint for the whimsigoth aesthetic, so the original novel cannot be ignored! Sisters Sally and Gillian are the latest magical scapegoats in rural Massachusetts. Raised by their aunts, the sisters long for lives away from magic and the cruelty of their peers. Faced with adult problems, the sisters must learn to love their magic together. Hoffman has expanded the Owens’s universe into three more novels for even more magic.

Book cover of Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

As celestial motifs are one of the hallmarks of the whimsigoth aesthetic, I couldn’t leave out this lunar-themed fantasy. Xingyin lives on the moon with her mother, hidden from the dangerous Celestial Emperor. When Xingyin’s magic flares to life, she travels to the Celestial Kingdom and begins training alongside the Emperor’s son. To save her mother’s life, Xingyin makes a dangerous pact with the Emperor. Enchanting and romantic, this novel is the first in a duology based on Chinese mythology.

Book cover of The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once And Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

In New Salem, there’s no such thing as witches. The Eastwood sisters, James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna, secretly hold onto the old words and old magic. As the sisters join up with the suffragists’ movement, fear of witches and magic grows. Danger at every corner, the sisters have few allies they can trust and more lessons to learn. This alternative history novel is a twisty feminist fairy tale that would fit right alongside Buffy and other ’90s heroines.

Want to learn more about different literary aesthetics? Dig into Dark Academia and why it’s so popular. If you’re more of a Coastal Grandma or Cottagecore bestie, we have books for you, too.