Rad Reads

Books to *perfectly* match your current aesthetic

image: Instagram.out/lilting_away

Reading a book is 10x more fun when you can relate to the story. And how much fun is it to build an outfit based off of your favorite character? Pick your aesthetic to get some *amazing* book recommendations. 



Are you the gal who dreams of living the simple life, your days filled with knitting, baking, and gardening in gingham dresses? Then Cottagecore is your aesthetic!


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Follow the four March sisters as they experience the ups and downs of life in Louisa May Alcott's classic. While this version doesn't have Timothée Chalamet, it *does* have the picturesque images of life in the 1800s. 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mary Lennox, a spoiled and selfish girl, discovers her love for gardening when she is sent to England to live with her uncle. The *original* Cottagecore story. 

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

You watched Anne with an E, now check out the original story of a unique and high spirited orphan girl who starts a new life on a farm when she's mistakenly adopted by an elderly sibling pair. 

Dark Academia


If you want to spend your time in mysterious old libraries, write poetry in a tea-stained journal and frequently imagine yourself as a student in a century old boarding school (ever waited for your Hogwarts acceptance letter?), the dark academia aesthetic surely speaks to your soul. 


A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Pip is solving a murder— for her senior thesis. This unputdownable mystery *totally* gives us dark academia vibes, with an ambitious, driven and highly academic main character. 

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

This book is the epitome of a boarding school thriller. You'll get sucked into the world of Henry de Warlencourts and the Medievals. Savages beware. 

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro 

A Study in Charlotte is a fabulous boarding school read about the descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Aside from gasping at every surprising twist, you can pick up some dark academia style cues from Charlotte Holmes herself (when she's *not* in disguise, that is). 



Is your style darker and edgier? Is Nirvana always popping up on your Spotify recommended? Is Billie Eilish one of your style icons? The signs point to grunge being your main aesthetic. 


The Graces by Laure Eve

The Craft as a YA book— perfect for spooky autumn weather! This is the story of three Grace siblings, rumored to be witches, told from the POV of the new girl in town who quickly becomes obsessed with them.

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

In the near future, America has turned the justice system into a reality show. Death Row inmates are sent to Alcatraz 2.0, where they are hunted down by appointed executioners for America's viewing pleasure. A dark comedy, this is the perfect read for you. 

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins 

This book's plot is straight out of an 80s slasher movie! Follow along with Makani as she tries to hide her own backstory while trying to figure out who is killing her new classmates. 



Maybe you love rewatching Breakfast at Tiffany's, saving fancy couture on Pinterest and adding the right touch of bling to your wardrobe. If so, your aesthetic is glamorous! 


American Royals by Katharine McGee

American Royals is a book centered on the question....What if the United States of America was a monarchy? America's royal palace is filled with, not only glamour, but also drama, secrets and royal intrigue. Take a cup of tea and cozy up with this fantastic royal read.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

In this glittering debut set in a dystopian royal world (formerly the United States), America Singer is chosen to compete against other girls for the prince's heart. With rivalry, gorgeous gowns, beautiful ballrooms and many secrets this book is *perfect* for any girl who loves glam. 

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

If you adore books filled with scandal, romance, fashion week ready outfits and gasp-worthy moments, The Luxe, set in 1899 Manhattan, is sure to keep any glamorous girl reading on her fancy sofa until late at night!



You scour thrift stores to get the *perfect* 20s flapper dress, have "Put Your Head on my Shoulder" on repeat and love watching black and white movies. You're the cat's pajamas, and you know it! Vintage aesthetic is yours, dahhling!


A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

Coming of age period drama set in a Gatsby-inspired background! This is the one time you *can* judge a book by its cover— this story is as beautiful as the cover image!

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Q: What do you get when you add Greek mythology to WW1 romance stories? 
A: A stunning and dazzling story that proves that, even in times of war, prejudice, trauma and chaos, love always prevails.

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

The name's Drew. Nancy Drew. Follow the original girl sleuth as she gets wrapped up in one mystery after the other, along with her best chums George and Bess, her steady Ned and her adorable blue convertible! 



You love scrolling through iconic paintings, checking out the local art scene at galleries and spending your weekends trying out different art techniques. You can *totally* sport the paint-on-clothes look and view your clothes as wearable artwork, so it's no surprise that your aesthetic is artsy. 


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchanted of Ravens is a fantasy romance about Isobel, an artist who is a master of her craft— painting faerie portraits. Reading this book will transport you to the vivid world of the fair folk that seems like a painting transformed into words.

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society follows the story of a gifted teen art thief who must pull off her biggest heist yet to save her father. This fast-paced book will make you feel like you're literally traveling to different art museums in cosmopolitan cities across the globe. 

Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee

Gemini follows the story of conjoined twins, one whom is an artist who wishes to explore the world and pursue her artistic dreams, while her sister has vastly different goals. This powerful read is sure to pique any art enthusiast's interest. 

Soft Girl


If you turn to pastels when choosing your outfit, bookmark cloud and heart makeup tutorials and love being called cute, the softgirl aesthetic is yours! Admit it, you're a romantic and the definition of a girly girl!


P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Romantic, funny and sure to steal your heart! And if you see me writing song lyrics on my desk in hopes of finding an anonymous  pen'll know where I got the idea from! 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean Covey is the queen of soft girl aesthetic. Dreamy vintage focused outfits aside, you'll love her story as she navigates life (and boys!)

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Twitter wars, rivals to lovers and a whole lotta cute! Taking cheesy to a whole new level (No, literally, grilled cheese sandwiches are very important in this book!) Tweet Cute will keep you smiling the whole way through. 



You live for classy wardrobe essentials (collared polo shirts, sweaters and pleated skirts, of course!) and spend your free time playing tennis, practicing piano and studying a foreign language. Your fashion style is *totally* out of a New England preparatory school, so it's no wonder your aesthetic is preppy.


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 

When reading this twisty psychological thriller, you can almost smell the salt air and feel the tension pour out of the pages. This book will pull you into the privileged world of the wealthy New England Sinclair family and the secrets that are hidden in their private island.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard 

In the seemingly perfect town of Rosewood, four girls, who were friends with the missing popular girl Ali, begin receiving threats from "A," who can spill their biggest secrets—that only Ali would know. When reading this fabulous mystery you can also pick up preppy style cues from Spencer Hastings, a driven, organized and competitive main character who has her sights set on attending an Ivy League. This book is a *staple* to a preppy gal's bookshelf. 

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

In the all-girl prep school Gallagher Academy, the exceptional young women learn *far* more than the normal student— they are training to become spies. With a forbidden romance and intriguing twists, this delightful and preppy read will make you feel like you, too, are a Gallagher Girl. 

What book best matches *your* current aesthetic? Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag. 


by Camille Campbell and Elina Graham | 10/11/2020