Margin Notes



Iris Winnow’s brother is missing. Unable to reach him after he leaves to fight in the war of the Gods, she is left to care for her struggling mother and attempt to keep their lives afloat with her low-paying journalist position. Iris knows that if she can get the columnist position at work, things will start to turn around for her family. The one person standing in her way is Roman Kitt, a rival journalist vying for the same columnist position in the paper. With pressures building for Iris at home and at work, she finds solace in a mysterious pen pal connected by magic through her heirloom typewriter. Their connection grows, writing out letters each night and slipping them through their wardrobes. Until a heartbreaking event alters Iris’ trajectory to the front lines and thrusts her into the chaos, danger, and horror of war.

Divine Rivals is a YA book that has it all! Including elements of fantasy, romance, magic, war, rivals, and gods, this is a book that would be a great entry point to different genres for readers who might be stuck in their own preferences. With the blurring lines of genre, Rebecca Ross has weaved a story so wonderful that you can’t help getting sucked into the world and rooting for the main characters. Iris is a strong female character that has her own insecurities and struggles, forced to mature because of her circumstances and is perfectly balanced by Roman, whose tough exterior shields his own fears and anxieties. They’re surrounded by a world where the gods have pulled humans into the crosshairs. By writing through both of their perspectives, the author fosters this connection we have made to both characters, to their lives as journalists, and to the realities of war they are living in. With a heart-pounding cliffhanger in the final moments, this book will surely have readers wanting to discuss and share all their thoughts, long after the book has ended.

I would recommend this book to high school students who want to try out new genres and don’t know where to start. This would also be a great novel to introduce in genre studies as it might generate some interesting discussions about the must have elements of each genre and some of the ways in which they can crossover. Whether it’s about genre, cliffhangers, or predictions for what is to come, this book is sure to start some great conversations for readers!

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