Lift Your Spirits With These Sweet and Spooky Ghost Romances

Prepare to swoon and scare at these ghost romance recs — and to dive into the heart-pumping roots of this strangest of subgenres!

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Ever fallen in love with that pesky ghost lingering in your attic? Or how about crushing on that one extra-handsome historical figure? No? Well, prepare to swoon and scare at these ghost romance recs — and to dive into the heart-pumping roots of this strangest of subgenres! Welcome to the most recent installment of Crazy Book Genre, where we’ll investigate on-page, ghosty love stories past and present.

The Ghost of Romances Past

The roots of this subgenre may be able to be traced back to paranormal paragons like Rebecca and Carmilla, or to even more modern classics like The Haunting of Hill House and Interview with the Vampire. The supernatural often stands as a symbol for the darker or more melancholy parts of humanity and our souls. Time moves eternally with us — or against us — with the ticking of the clock of death beating upon our backs. Ghost stories allow us foolish mortals a glimpse beyond death and into the past.

We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic – now mercifully stilled, thank God – might in some manner unforeseen become a living companion as it had before.”

Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier
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Readers and writers alike are often drawn to the possibility of dancing the line between life and death and revisiting old flames. But it’s not only in recent years that writers have detailed the haunting love-and-hate stories between the living and the dead – and those somewhere in between. Supernatural and paranormal romances saw a boom in popularity with the rise of the Urban Fantasy genre, with vampires and werewolves often being the love interests of choice. This oddly intriguing subgenre offers readers a glimpse into the past and a tug at their heartstrings. Whether these books be terrifying, bittersweet, or somewhere in the purgatory between, to interrogate life, death, and time themselves is simply to be human.

To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson
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Unfinished Business & Giving Up the Ghost

Being between a ghost and a mortal, books lying within this subgenre often feature forbidden romance. Whether it’s death itself holding our dear lovers apart, or something less sinister, these offbeat affairs oft err on the side of the taboo and the forbidden. The setup of these notable novels may begin with a lover — or enemy — dying, or someone from the protagonist’s past returning with unfinished business.

Spooky book
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And just as every romance needs some force to pull the paramours apart, Ghost Romances often present characters with the impossible choice between saving the ghost or letting them go. Usually, the living lover wants to save their beloved phantom, and the phantom is ready to move on to the fabled realms beyond death. And almost always, readers can look to this subgenre for stories that veer on the sweet side, tinged with a side of melancholy.

Specters, Phantoms, Spirits, Oh My: Ghost Romance Recs

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
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A trans Latinx brujo attempts to summon the ghost of his cousin but instead raises the ghost of his school bad boy. Cemetery Boys is a YA Contemporary Paranormal read perfect for younger fans of this subgenre — or those seeking an #OwnVoices diverse take on the ghost romance tropes!

Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

THE DEAD ROMANTICS by Ashley Poston
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When a millennial ghostwriter returns home to bury her beloved father, the ghost of her Editor haunts her – and teaches her a thing or two about love stories. Author Ashley Poston cemented herself as a favorite in the Speculative Romance genre with this BookTok sensation, perfect for those seeking a new read akin to Emily Henry — but with ghosts! But readers beware: don’t judge The Dead Romantics’ by its bright cover, as you might find it more melancholy than you expected.

Hot Ghost by Annika Martin

HOT GHOST by Annika Martin
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A ghost tour guide falls for an unexpectedly handsome phantom in this fun-size, perfect-for-spooky-season (or Summerween!) novella. Trick-or-treat yourself to the fast-paced, swoon-worthy read that is Hot Ghost — the perfect introduction to the (hot) Ghost Romance subgenre!

The Library of Shadows by Rachel Moore

THE LIBRARY OF SHADOWS by Rachel Moore
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When Este attends the same boarding school as her now-deceased father, she hopes to learn more about his past; instead, she’s thrust into danger by an annoyingly alluring ghost and must uncover the school’s clandestine secrets – or risk expulsion. The Library of Shadows is a YA Paranormal Rom-Com that is the warmth of Gilmore Girls meets the ghosty humor of Julie and the Phantoms.

Bonus: Us in Ruins by Rachel Moore

US IN RUINS by Rachel Moore
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On her school’s archaeological expedition to Pompeii, Margot crosses paths with a statue come to life, with whom she must uncover a rare artifact and evade ruin at every turn. While this magical mystery’s love interest isn’t exactly a ghost, he’s certainly not quite living. This upcoming release vows to enchant readers with an otherworldly Italian adventure and a romance straight out of mythology.

Romance and Supernatural lovers alike can unite over the Ghost Romance subgenre, where plenty of sweet and spooky happily-ever-afters can be found. Do you dare to dive into this genre, or are living love interests more your style? Let us know on our FacebookInstagram, or X!


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