What makes "That Was Then, This Is Now" a coming of age novel?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bryon and Mark are both teenagers whose lives drastically change after a series of unfortunate, tragic events. At the beginning of the novel, Bryon and Mark are both carefree boys who have fun getting into trouble and messing around. Bryon is slightly more mature than Mark at the beginning of the story because Mark has no regard for authority whatsoever. As the novel progresses, Mark gets beaten up, Charlie dies, and Bryon falls in love with Cathy Carlson. The older Bryon gets, the more he begins to distance himself from Mark. Bryon gains perspective on life and understands that Mark does not know the difference between right and wrong. Bryon continues to mature and develop into a responsible young man, while Mark continues to break the law. Eventually, Bryon finds out that Mark is selling pills and calls the police on him which ends their friendship. At the end of the novel, Bryon no longer feels like a carefree child and realizes that there are consequences in life. Bryon's transformation and moral development classify That Was Then, This Is Now as a coming of age novel.