[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/never_let_me_go_4625.jpg]]

'''''Never Let Me Go''''' is a 2005 science fiction/romance/drama novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, author of ''Literature/TheRemainsOfTheDay''. The plot concerns three friends, Kathy, who narrates, Tommy and Ruth, who as children are students of Hailsham, an unusual boarding school in the isolated English countryside. As Kathy nears adulthood, the truth about Hailsham and its students is gradually revealed to the reader.

A movie adaptation was released in 2010 starring Creator/CareyMulligan as Kathy, Creator/KeiraKnightley as Ruth, and Creator/AndrewGarfield as Tommy.

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!!The novel provides examples of:

* ActivistFundamentalistAntics: Inverted - no matter how horrible things get, no one ever shows any outrage against the system. Two of the three protagonists have emotional outbursts of disapproval and almost hate, but always [[InternalizedCategorism aiming at themselves]].
* AlphaBitch: Ruth
* AlternateHistory
* BettyAndVeronica: Kathy is Betty, becoming a carer in the end of the film, while Ruth is Veronica, playing with people's hearts.
* BoardingSchool
* BreakTheCutie: Played with. [[spoiler: The third act of the film is essentially a slow-motion BreakTheCutie for all three of the main characters, but in-universe the donor programme is set up so that no-one regards them as cuties at all]].
* ChildhoodFriendRomance Pretty obvious with [[spoiler: Kathy and Tommy]]
* ClonesArePeopleToo: [[spoiler: The real objective of Hailsham's Gallery was to prove this trope.]]
* ConditionedToAcceptHorror: Not stated outright for some time, but a GenreSavvy reader is going to have a tough time shaking the feeling that something awful is behind the students of Hailsham. Kathy mentions she suspects they are deliberately told things about what they are when they are just a little too young to understand them, so that by the time they can process the implications, they've accepted it as a fact of life.
* CrapsackWorld: A world where [[spoiler: harvesting humans for parts]] is the norm scores fairly high on the crapsack meter.
* CreatingLifeIsAwesome: [[spoiler: The artificial humans are kind and compassionate, and so are the humans who try to help them. Ironically, society doesn't ''want'' them to be good - it's easier to justify exploiting them if one can pretend that they are soulless.]]
* CreativeSterility: [[spoiler: Averted - the stated reason for why it is so important for the students of Hailsham to be creative. The teachers wanted to prove that clones were just like everyone else]].
* CureForCancer: [[spoiler: the clones.]]
* DeadlyEuphemism: [[spoiler: The "Recovery" Centres are hospices for the donors to inhabit until they "complete"]].
* DownerEnding
* DyingAlone: Ruth's greatest fear in the first parts of the story. [[spoiler:Later replaced by regret and a desperate hope that her loved ones will at least be allowed to have each other.]]
* ExtranormalInstitute
* FantasticAesop: If you interpret the story as purely literal rather than RuleOfSymbolism, it all boils down to [[spoiler:cloning people so you can cut them up for spare parts is bad.]]
* FirstNameBasis: [[spoiler: Donors aren't considered human enough to have surnames and have to make do with a single letter.]]
* {{Flatline}}: Subverted. [[spoiler: When Ruth flatlines, she's surrounded by medical professionals who ''keep going about their job of killing her'']].
* FreeLoveFuture: Since the students [[spoiler: can't have children]], sex isn't a taboo for them and everyone is pretty open about it.
* GoOutWithASmile: In the movieverse where [[spoiler: Kathy is watching Tommy have his final surgery before completing and Tommy turns to her and they exchange sad smiles before being knocked out for the surgery]].
* HopeSpot: It's a sign of the lack of love of life that the donors are brought up with that [[spoiler: deferring for three or four years before you are killed is considered the best the characters can hope for. And it soon becomes apparent that deferrals are just something else which has never existed]].
* IJustWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Ruth, in the later parts of the story.
* InconvenientHippocraticOath: Creepily averted. In the film version, the hospitals are ''always'' shown slowly and deliberately murdering people. Obviously the "And I shall do no harm" code only applies to certain patients. And the worst part is the constant undercurrent of humiliation and shame as the victims are so clearly and ultimately shown that they are considered to be without real human value.
* InternalizedCategorism: The perhaps most painful aspect of the story is that the characters never overcome their social conditioning. The government [[spoiler:plan to murder them]] for no reason other than [[spoiler:harvesting their internal organs, and they really don't want to die.]] They spend the story agonizing over their [[spoiler:lives being cut short, grasping for straws as they try to find loopholes so they'll be allowed to stay alive a little longer]], and feeling guilty about taking out their angst on each other. But none of them ever dare to admit even to themselves that the system is unfair, that they actually ''deserve'' to [[spoiler:be allowed to live. They have been given an identity as sacrificial victims, and while they hate their place in life they fail to break free from this imposed image of who and what they are.]]
* LifeWillKillYou: The film version ends with the protagonist thinking about how ordinary people are NotSoDifferent after all, how we are ''all'' living our lives on death row.
* MonochromeCasting.
* NeverTrustATrailer: Many TV advertisements for the film version made it look like your typical romantic drama. Nope, no science fiction or [[spoiler: cloning]] in this movie...
* OneLetterName: Their surnames are only a letter. Part of how the system tries to dehumanise them.
* OrphanageOfLove: Hailsham doubles as this, since all its students are orphans.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Oh, this great system, saving so many lives...
* QuestionableConsent: The protagonists and others are getting exploited in the most brutal way, and they have all been conditioned to unquestioningly accept the system.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Tommy is an emotional child and does this whenever he's teased [[spoiler:and does so again as an adult when he finds out deferrals are a lie. It's also the closest anyone comes to rage against the system]].
* RedOniBlueOni: Ruth and Kathy respectively.
* {{Retraux}}: In the movie.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler: Nobody even tries to do anything about their situation, then they die.]]
* ShowDontTell: In the movie, much of the jargon surrounding the Donor programme is never explicitly defined even by the narration and it's left to the viewer to infer meaning from context.
* StarCrossedLovers: Tom and Kathy, first coerced into a LoveTriangle by PoisonousFriend Ruth [[spoiler: and when they finally do get together, Tom is soon "completed".]]
* SugaryMalice: Ruth has a bit of this, fueled by her fear of being left alone. Far worse, however, is the clinical kindness that the system shows its victims while pushing them down into despair and death.
* TotalitarianUtilitarian: The system, [[PoweredByAForsakenChild saving so many lives]]. Also the protagonists themselves, conditioned to disregard life and dignity for the greater good.. [[spoiler:their own lives]].
* TrackingChip: The students have microchips implanted in their wrists.
* TragicDream: [[spoiler: Kathy and Tommy hoping to prove that they were in love so that they could have a few more years together. The reader knows this isn't going to work and the naivete of the characters in thinking that it will is rather heartbreaking. Worse yet, this is really Ruth's dream, with her getting them together in a desperate attempt to save them]].
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: And how. Just about everything that's spoiler sensitive on this page is all but explicitly revealed in the trailer for the film.
* TriangRelations: Elements of type four.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
* ViewersAreMorons: Not exactly, but test audiences for TheMovie were so confused about when the film takes place (a very isolated area a la ''[[spoiler: TheVillage or TheIsland]]''? An alternate universe?) that they didn't pay attention to the characters' relationships or the ending. To fix this, a title card was added (with the author's approval) at the beginning puts the film in [[spoiler: an alternate universe version of TheNineties]].
* WouldBeRudeToSayGenocide: People "are completed" on an industrial scale. [[spoiler:And "[[DeadlyEuphemism completed]]" actually equals "murdered".]]
* XMeetsY: TheIsland meets Literature/TheOnesWhoWalkAwayFromOmelas.
* YouHaveNoChanceToSurvive: [[spoiler: The students at Hailsham and other donors]]
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