All four of the Tillerman kids are struggling with friends school, and identity, either because they’re smart (James), timid (Sammy), learning-disabled (Maybeth), or, like our heroine, grouchy about having to take home ec instead of mechanical drawing. If you’re older than thirteen, you’ll probably look back on that time and give thanks it's all over while reading Dicey’s Song. If you’re still in junior high, trust Shmoop: it won’t be this awful and awkward forever.
Dicey doesn't want to grow up because she's afraid that in doing so, she'll be betraying the memory of her mother.
Dicey's Song shows us that adults come of age, too. Just look at how far Gram and Mr. Lingerle come by the end of the novel.