Three characters in Jane Austen's novels are seventeen when their stories begin: Marianne Dashwood, Kitty Bennet, and Catherine Morland. In your estimation, which of the three girls will grow into the sort of mature woman you would like to befriend?
Kitty Bennet, at age 17, follows her younger sister, Lydia, who at 15 is flighty and silly and dangerously reckless. After Lydia runs off with Wickham, forcing a shotgun marriage, the Bennets oversee Kitty's upbringing more closely. After Jane and Elizabeth marry, they teach Kitty better social graces and provide a world for her outside of Meryton.She eventually settles down and demonstrates a modicum of common sense.
Catherine Morland prefers to roll down hillsides rather than pursue the ladylike activities of sewing, learning foreign languages, painting, or reading anything more strenuous than novels! Henry Tilney is charmed by her artless ignorance and enthusiastic preference for his company. Young as Catherine is, she is no dummy, seeing through General Tilney and John Thorpe. After the general banishes her from Northanger Abbey, she demonstrates a great deal of courage, integrity, and maturity.
Marianne Dashwood's uber romantic sensibilities blind her to Colonel Brandon's superior qualities and Willoughby's less than sterling ones. She not only survive love's disappointment but she slowly comes to the realization that her own behavior led her down the wrong path of romance. After her illness, she begins to open up to Colonel Brandon, and allows herself to fall in love with someone she has learned to esteem.