Bless Me, Ultima chronicles Antonio's loss of innocence and his growth from boy to man. It just happens to Antonio much earlier in life than it does to most. But what's interesting here is not the fact that Antonio grows up (hate to say it, but we kind of saw that one coming), but how he grows up. It's definitely not in your typical fashion. Instead of dealing with first kisses and drivers ed, Antonio wrestles with philosophical questions that have plagued the oldest of men for ages. So while he comes of age here, it's clear he was already wise beyond his years.
In some ways, Antonio matures far faster than his friends. But he skipped a grade, so in some ways, he's still a little behind. This is summed up best when the Vitamin Kid chooses to walk with Ida on the bridge rather than race Antonio.
Antonio's progression to manhood is marked with death. It seems that witnessing multiple murders and seeing a close friend drown go a long way in pushing a young boy to grow up fast.