Kathy H is a carer who looks after donors, although it is not made immediately clear who she cares for and why.
Kathy used to attend a school called Hailsham.
Kathy is allowed a certain amount of choice when it comes to picking the people she cares for and this has brought her into contact with her old friends from Hailsham, Ruth and Tommy.
Kathy reminisces about life at Hailsham. Students are encouraged to play lots of sport and to enjoy arts and crafts. Tommy finds art difficult and this leads to him feeling frustrated.
Madame takes the pupils’ best pictures and puts them in a gallery. Much mystery surrounds the gallery and the pupils are puzzled by its purpose.
Kathy’s favourite song is Never Let Me Go from an album by Judy Bridgewater. Kathy is extremely upset when the album goes missing.
Miss Lucy reminds the students that they are clones whose main function is to donate their vital organs before they even reach middle age.
When they leave school, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy go to The Cottages, which seem to be a half way point between school and adulthood.
A trip is taken to Norfolk where Ruth’s possible has been spotted.
Kathy decides to leave The Cottages and embark on her future career as a carer. Kathy cares for Ruth until she dies.
Kathy becomes Tommy’s carer and they begin a relationship. They hope to get a deferral so that Tommy will not have to complete (which, in this context, means to die) immediately but Madame tells them they do not exist.
Tommy dies and the novel ends with Kathy driving in her car.