Noa lives in a world where only those who perform well in an exam taken at age fifteen are allowed to stay in the safe Territory. The rest are cast out into the disease-ridden area flooded when the sea levels rose. Though Noa is very intelligent, she has to compete with rich children who can upload information straight to their brains.
The Territory is a fierce critique of education systems that privilege rote learning above application of knowledge. It questions the pressure that young children are put under in state examinations and the way societies do not do enough to help those from poorer backgrounds to succeed in school. Noa is an engaging character who draws us into her world. Sarah Govett’s story invites speculation on how this society would survive if a generation who cannot think creatively eventually take charge.
Govett has created a powerful and shocking novel that makes the reader wonder how societies would deal with the environmental consequences of climate change and if there could ever be any ‘right’ course of action. My only criticism of the book was the, now standard, one girl, two boys love triangle. While it is integral to the plot, it feels generic as the trope has been overused in YA dystopian fiction. For me it was a low point in an otherwise excellent, thought-provoking book. The Territory will appeal to lovers of dystopian fiction and anyone who values questioning the status quo.