| Quote #1
"I'm not afraid of looking the way I do, Tally."
"Maybe not, but you are afraid of growing up!" (10.81-2)
Coming of age can be a frightening thing, as Tally notes. And we can see why someone like Shay might be afraid of that: because growing up possibly means changing your identity. (Also, no longer being able to fit in your clothes.)
| Quote #2
Her duffel bag was only half-full. Everyone knew that new pretties wound up recycling most of the stuff they brought over the river, anyway. She'd have all new clothes, of course, and all the new pretty toys she wanted. All she'd really kept was Shay's handwritten note, hidden among a bunch of random crap. "Got enough."
"Good for you, Tally. That's very mature." (12.25-6)
Adults always tell people to act their age and be more mature, usually in a way that means "be quiet." Even in the city we can see how this middle pretty who picks up Tally on the day of her surgery congratulates her for being so "mature" because she doesn't have a bag full of sentimental items, like stuffed animals. (Million-dollar idea: hovering stuffed animals.) And yet, as we'll come to see, the pretties aren't all that mature themselves.
| Quote #3
For the first time in her life, Tally found herself listening to a middle pretty without being completely reassured, a realization that made her dizzy. And she couldn't shake the thought that Sol knew nothing about the outside world Shay had fled to. (14.49)
Perhaps one part of coming of age is learning that your parents and other adults aren't totally right about everything. (But don't tell them that we said that.) So part of Tally's coming of age is when she listens to her parents and doesn't agree with them. They may be physically mature, but they don't know anything about the real world.