The book opens with the main character, Pressia, lying in a cabinet that her grandfather made her. It's not very comfortable, but it's where she needs to sleep.
She doesn't seem too pumped for her Sweet Sixteen, which is in two weeks.
OSR (Operation Sacred Revolution) patrols the streets at night, which is why Pressia needs to stay hidden. OSR = bad guys.
By the way, Pressia's grandfather has a fan lodged in his throat. Something isn't right here.
They also live in the back storage room of a burned-out barbershop. What's going on?
Apparently, if you don't turn yourself into OSR headquarters on your sixteenth birthday, they'll take you. Think about thereaping in The Hunger Games, but a little worse.
Not everyone knows how to read, but Pressia was taught by her grandfather. She learned through "the Message," which reads: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. Buther grandfather hid the message somewhere, and no one speaks about it anymore.
Quick aside: if it's randomly capitalized, it's important. That's not just a regular message, people.
There are whispers (their way of saying rumors) that when OSR takes you, they teach you how to kill through live targets, and if you're too deformed from "the Detonations," you are a live target.
(Notice how "Detonations" is capitalized.)
There's an OSR list of those who need to turn themselves in, and Pressia isn't on it yet.
OSR's mission is to take down the Dome one day. They order that all newborns are registered, and they do random house raids. Jeez, these guys are demanding.
Back to Pressia: she makes little windup toys from pieces of metal and other materials she finds. Her favorite one is the butterfly.
She has a pet mechanical-winged cicada named Freedle.
Her grandfather used to work as a mortician, and people come to him because he knows how to stitch them up when they are injured.
Back-story on The Detonations: they were over nine years ago. Pressia doesn't remember her mother or father, but her grandfather tells her about them a lot.
Her mother was killed by a plate-glass window. She was Japanese. Her father was Scotch-Irish, and they live west of Baltimore, and north of DC. But none of these city names mean anything to Pressia because she doesn't understand them.
Pressia was holding a doll when the Detonations occurred. Basically, the Detonations were radiation bombs, and everyone outside of the Dome was affected. The doll fused into one of Pressia's hands, so now she has a doll hand. Yikes.
Pressia leaves her house with the intention of scavenging for materials.