Study Guide

Vampire Academy Coming of Age

By Richelle Mead

Coming of Age

I was the one who took action, who made sure things happened—sometimes recklessly so. She was the more reasonable one, the one who thought things out and researched them extensively before acting. Both styles had their uses, but at the moment, recklessness was called for. We didn't have time to hesitate. (1.56)

Part of growing up is discovering who you are, and for Rose, she's a wild smart aleck who knows her way around the booze. It's important for us to see Rose as her irresponsible self so we recognize when she is growing up as the book progresses. In fact, you can measure her coming of age by how reckless she acts.

His eyes flicked toward Lissa and me, and I wondered what he saw. Two pathetic girls, looking at him with big, pleading eyes? Or two runaways who'd broken out of a high-security school and swiped half of Lissa's inheritance? (2.85)

What do you think Dimitri sees when he looks at them? It's got to be something that makes him decide to put the time in to help Rose, even before he crushes on her. Perhaps he already sees Rose's potential, even before she recognizes it herself.

A sinking sensation filled my stomach as I imagined him wracked with guilt and worry over our disappearance. Until now, I hadn't really thought about how others might have felt about us leaving. (3.134)

After Victor tells her he's glad Vasilisa is safe, Rose realizes she hasn't thought about others at all for the entire time they've been gone. It's a surprising moment for her, since she prides herself on being a guardian and all, but the truth is, she's pretty selfish in a lot of ways at the beginning of the novel.

"It was great. No one knew who I was. I was just another face. Not Moroi. Not royal. Not anything." She looked down at the floor. "Everyone here thinks they know who I am." (5.14)

Lissa and Christian bond over the fact that everyone thinks they know who they are, but really they don't. We're betting you know exactly what this feels like, minus the magic powers and Strigoi bit.

Between her example and my life at the Academy, I believed wholeheartedly that it was a dhampir's job to protect Moroi. It was part of our heritage, and it was the only way we'd keep going. It was that simple. (6.47)

Even though Rose doesn't exactly approve of her mom giving her up so she could protect her Moroi, she gets it. Rose knows she has to take her duty super seriously, and understanding this is a key part of her becoming an adult.

"My reputation is already made, Rose. I set my standards and lived up to them long ago. What you do with yours remains to be seen." (9.74)

Ouch—Dimitri tells Rose that she's still got to make her reputation, because she hasn't even become a guardian yet. Even though Dimitri is seven years older, he's got his life sorted out. Everyone knows he can kick-butt and save lives, but with Rose, they're still waiting for her to prove it.

"You're seventeen, and in less than a year, someone's life and death will be in your hands." His voice still sounded firm, but there was a gentleness there too. "If you were human or Moroi, you could have fun. You could do things other girls could." (9.77).

… but she's not a human, so she can't do all that fun stuff. Dimitri gives Rose one tough pill to swallow. Sometimes, you have to do the hard thing when you're an adult. That's why she wants to stay a kid and goof off for as long as possible.

I could figure out the rest, the part she didn't tell Dimitri. She'd found the rabbit, cleaned up, and freaked out. Then she'd cut herself, but it was the weird way she coped with things that upset her. (12.43)

Sadly, a very real part of coming of age is dealing with adult problems like depression and death. At first Rose thinks she can muddle her way through, but eventually she realizes she's just not adult enough to cope with Lissa's cutting. Another big part to coming of age? Knowing when you're in over your head and asking for help.

She sounded like she wanted to believe that, and inside, some part of her really did. But there was another part of her, a desperate part of her that had wanted for so long to know that she wasn't a freak, that she wasn't alone. Even if the news was bad, at least now she knew there were others like her. (16.70)

When Rose tells Lissa about the similarities between her, Ms. Karp, and St. Vladimir, she's comforted and angry at the same time. Lissa is just like us—we want to believe there are people out there who are like us, that we fit in somewhere, and that's what Lissa is going through with her strange hocus pocus too.

"You're still growing up and figuring out who you are and what's important. You need to keep doing that. You need to be with boys your own age." (23.42)

We hate when people tell us to act our age because it's really just a number. But Dimitri does have a point when he tells her why they can't be together—he's seven years older and is just on a different wavelength than her. We hate to admit it, but part of growing up is figuring out who you want to be—with people your own age.

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