Pressia Belze is a sixteen-year-old girl, and, as the saying goes, she's "sweet sixteen and never been kissed." But her not having been kissed is the least of her problems; when she was just a little girl, large-scale bombs called the Detonations swept the earth.
Only those who were in the Dome were safe from the Detonations, and those who survived them while outside of the Dome were fused to their nearest surroundings. Now, Pressia lives in a post-apocalyptic America. Her hand is fused with a doll head, and her grandfather's neck is fused with a fan. Things aren't exactly on the upswing for Pressia, especially because the OSR (a revolutionary group outside the Dome) takes custody of all sixteen-year-olds to use them as new recruits (or target practice). Gulp.
Meanwhile, Partridge Willux lives inside the Dome. He is a "Pure," as the people outside the Dome (who are called "wretches) call him. Partridge also attends the academy, where all kids are genetically coded to become physically and mentally superhuman. Oh, and his father is pretty much the leader of the Dome. Sounds like a pretty good life, huh?
Well, not exactly. Partridge doesn't like it in the Dome, and he hates his father. After his father hints that his mother is still alive and possibly outside of the Dome, Partridge decides to escape to find her.
Eventually, Pressia has to run away from her home to escape the OSR, and she ultimately runs into Partridge. The rest of the novel is an action packed, heart-wrenching adventure to find Partridge's mother. The two join forces with a tough-guy renegade named Bradwell and OSR officer turned-good guy named El Capitan (whose brother, Helmud, is fused to his back). Oh, and there are some feelings between Bradwell and Pressia—that "never been kissed" phase is thrown out the window by the book's end. But that's about the only cheerful thing you'll find.
Though Pressia and Partridge end up finding out they are half-brother and half-sister through solving a riddle from their mother, the hunt to find her ends in tragedy. After enduring almost certain death and immense pain, they find their mother Aribelle, only to see her and their older brother (who they thought was dead) blown to pieces by Partridge's father. Partridge swears revenge at the end, setting us up for the next book in the trilogy.