The main character's is an eleven year old boy named Jonas who lives in the "Community" with his mom, dad and sister. His dad is a "Nurturer". Nurturers take care of newborn children and at the dinner table the dad told everyone that they will be taking a sick child in there house for a bit. Because each family only gets one boy and one girl, this was a big surprise. Being staff for the department of justice, the mom told her family about a "repeat offender" (someone who keeps breaking the law) that may have to be "released". Releasing is a punishment Old people get if they do break the law and newborns who couldn't grow up in the "Community".
Jonas got butterflies about "The ceremony of twelve". There are two ceremonies: the ceremony of 1 and the ceremony of 12. At the ceremony of 12, the kids decide what they want do as their job but Jonas had no clue to what his job would be.
The person who decides the rules is the receiver who no one knows. The receiver is really strict. For example, at 9 yrs old, kids get a bike. A kid under 9 is prohibited to ride a bike before 9.
The father brought home the sick baby. His sister Lilly said that he has "funny eyes" like Jonas. She meant that they both had light eyes unlike everyone else.
Once when he was at school play catch with his apple, the speakers said not to hoard food. The next 4 throws the apple changed colours, but his friend didn't see anything change.
Him and his friend did their volunteer hours that they had to do when they became 8. After that Jonas went to rehabilitation to see his friend Benjamin and seeking his job opportunities. After he went to his friend Fiona's house and saw his friend's bike.