At first, Kathy H. seems to be a bright, perky woman who attends a good private school, Hailsham, has a college-like experience at "The Cottages," and ends up working as a "carer" (a kind of health care professional). Eventually, the reader learns that Kathy H. is a clone.
Kathy recounts her early years at Hailsham, a school for clones, where she befriends Tommy and Ruth. They participate in art contests, which turn out to be part of an effort to prove clones have souls.
Ruth and Tommy begin dating (clones cannot reproduce) as they all finish their schooling and head to The Cottages. There, they have sex, debate books, and search for their "possibles" (the humans they are clones of).
After leaving The Cottages, the friends are split up; Kathy cares for other clones who are donors and will "complete" when they have given too many vital organs to live. Ruth and Tommy become donors before Kathy. Kathy ends up being Tommy's carer, and they fall in love.
Before Tommy's final donation, they visit with Madame, who collected art from students at Hailsham, hoping to get a deferral. But the gallery was simply an effort to improve the short lives of clones. Tommy returns to "complete," and Kathy continues as a "carer."
Best part of story, including ending:
Kathy's story is a beautiful examination of what it means to be human (through friendships, love, and art), and what it means to be part of a system.
Best scene in story:
The scene where Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy gather as adults to see a boat beached in the marshes and reflect on the closure of Hailsham is exceptionally touching.
Opinion about the main character:
Kathy H. can come off as too optimistic at times, but she (like her friends) genuinely believes the system, in their sacrifices.