Your teacher does it all the time.
Your best friend does it (usually during class) and your mother does it more than you like. It seems like somebody is always passing some paper your way.
But this time, when you got handed that piece of paper -- a driver's license! -- you smiled so hard it hurt. This is paper you've waited all your life to get.
So now you have freedom and the license, but what about the car? You're dying for a sweet ride all your own, and the key is in the new book "In the Driver's Seat" by Erika Stalder.
Right now, at your age (a teenager), a car is probably the most expensive thing you've ever bought, which means you'll want to be a smart purchaser. Of course, you want a car that gets noticed, but you may have a budget (including gas, insurance, and maintenance) for a hoopty instead of a head-turner. Consider your options, look around, and when you're ready for financing, remember that borrowing money from a bank is nothing at all like borrowing money from mom and dad. Your parents might be willing to let you be late on a payment now and then. The bank -- not so much.
When you've found the perfect ride, take it for a spin. Turn on switches, blast the radio, listen for weird noises or rattles, look at the owner's service records, then take it to a mechanic who can tell you if the car is good to go, literally.
Once you've got your ride, insure it and you're ready to hit the road, right? Nope. First, become familiar with the owner's manual. You don't have to memorize it, but at least know the important things. Then, make a handbag for your car with an old duffel bag and a few tools and things you might need, just in case.
And if just-in-case ever arrives, hey, you're a 21st century girl, right? "In the Driver's Seat" knows that, so it includes easy-to-do, step-by-step engine repairs that you can do yourself, as well as a few danger-driving tips. With this book in your glove box, you'll be a woman driver in the absolute best sense of the term.
For parents, if you've been thinking about your daughter's driver's license with mixed feelings: partly wistful that your little girl is growing up and partly scared to death, "In the Driver's Seat" can soothe half those feelings.
Author Erika Stalder makes owning a car seem a whole less daunting with the advice she dispenses for girls with wheels. This book covers everything from the first idea and beyond, but what I liked best were the instructions for making basic mechanical repairs and indications for when it's time to call the pros. Not only is that empowering for teen girls, but it should put parents' minds to rest.
If you've got an impending or new driver in the house, make sure she reads this book this weekend. "In the Driver's Seat" will help her really get in gear.
"In The Driver's Seat: A Girl's Guide to Her First Car" by Erika Stalder, copyright 2009 by Zest Books, is 127 pages and sells for $14.95.
Contact book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer at www.bookwormsez.com.