Ready For The World: Driver’s Education


Ready For The World: Driver’s Education follows the story of Brandon Delacruz, a fifteen-year-old Filipino American teenager trying to make his way through life during the late 1980s. What Brandon wants out of life is simple: a cool car, a chance to be one of the cool kids at school, and most of all, a cool girlfriend. But instead, all he has are his loving family and his lifelong friends, Josh and Ally, to help him get through the minefield of high school life. 


As he looks for ways to get the car and status, Brandon fails to realize that the girl he’s been searching for has been there all along. But before he and Ally can explore a new relationship, a tragedy changes their lives. And now Brandon will have to find a way to balance his deep friendship with the excitement, trepidation, and complexity that young love brings...all while trying to keep his grades up.


Ready For The World: Superstar


Things couldn’t be better for Brandon Delacruz. After a long and winding road, he finally has the girl of his dreams. To top it all off, he’s discovered his destiny. He’s going to write the next great novel. Not bad for someone who is a few months shy of his sixteenth birthday.


But after a tumultuous start to the year, he finds himself stuck between two girls. On one side is Ally, his best friend since kindergarten who’s suddenly become more of a mystery. And on the other side is Rachel, a brilliant and strong-willed girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. As he sorts his feelings out, he’ll find that the world isn’t like the one he’s writing about in his book. Real-life is messy and perplexing, especially in high school. 


And Brandon will learn that life can offer true beauty and grace...and heartbreak.


Excerpt from Ready For The World: Driver’s Education


AND THERE IT WAS. THE BRASS RING THAT HELD THE KEY TO MY FREEDOM, INCHES FROM MY GRASP. I grabbed Dad‘s keychain out of his fingers and turned the key in the ignition. The engine rumbled to life underneath my sweaty grip. 


It was the summer of 1986 and I was the proud owner of a driver‘s permit from the great state of California. Back then, once you passed a driver‘s education class, you could get behind the wheel. But in my life, there was a more powerful governing body that controlled my ability to drive: my parents. 


“Make sure that you keep both hands in the ten and two positions at all times, “Dad said. 


“But how am I supposed to hold my beer if both of my hands are on the wheel? “ I asked with a smile. 


Dad seared a hole into my head with his stare. “Don‘t even joke about that. Do you understand me? “


“I was kidding! “


 “I don’t care. “ 


I caught Mom’s reflection in the rearview mirror. She stopped going over the grocery store receipt to give me one of her looks. Eyebrows arched. Head tilted down. Chin to the left. It was a look I knew all too well. It was the “don’t dig yourself any further into this hole “look”. 


My parents were pretty easy going and fair, as parents go anyway. Mom and Dad were always cool with my friends, let me go out at night within reason, and even let me have a telephone in my room. They moved to the United States in 1964 and luckily for me, weren‘t like the “typical” Filipino parents. They didn‘t make me practice the piano eight hours a day, seven days a week. They didn‘t frown at an A-minus on my report card and ask, “Why isn‘t it an A-plus? “ And they didn‘t demand that I only study medicine or law in college. They merely suggested all those things. It was a slight twist on the Asian parenting handbook. 


When I pushed to get more time behind the wheel, I knew what to expect. There would be lectures about how to be super-duper safe on the road. I‘d hear how to be wary of the other drivers. But more than anything else, they stressed that I was not to be an idiot in any way, shape, or form. 


“Watch your speed! “ Dad said. “You‘re only supposed to go twenty-five around here!


“Around here were the suburbs of San Diego. I grew up in a home like a lot of other homes with a yard like many other yards. My neighborhood was like a lot of other neighborhoods. I graduated from Pence Junior High School this past June. I would attend Howard McMillan High School in a few days. It was a little more than a mile from our house. 


“Dad, you know I‘m allowed to drive to school by myself with a permit, “I said. I kept my hands at ten and two in hopes he‘d notice. I don’t know if he did. But I did hear him grunt. 


“Why don‘t you ride your bike to school? “ Mom asked. “It‘s about the same distance from home.


“To a guy without his own car, a mile was the distance between San Diego and the moon. It was 5,280 feet of rugged terrain with steep hills and deep valleys. But to my parents, it was a short bike ride.


 “I read the DMV manual and it says I’m allowed to drive, “I said. 


“We know the laws, “Dad said. “But you’re not driving until we think you‘re ready.”


 “But I‘ll be the only one in my class not driving to school.”


 “Then that makes you unique, “he said. “Be ready to make a right at the light.”


I couldn‘t believe it. My parents were oblivious to how ridiculous I’d look pulling up to school on a ten-speed bike. Or worse, they knew and didn‘t care. I slumped in my seat and jerked the wheel as I made the turn at the light.


Mom’s piercing scream rang in my ears. “BRANDON JACOB DELACRUZ! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? “ 


I shook my head a bit and looked around. Had I hit someone? I looked down at the dashboard and checked my speed. Was I going too fast? “What happened?” I asked.


Purchase Links:


Ready For The World: Driver’s Education 


Amazon India | Amazon USA


Ready For The World: Superstar


Amazon India | Amazon USA

About the Author:

Charmeljun Gallardo is a former Radiologist and author. His first book is Ready For The World - a young adult book series. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Creative Writing degree in 1996. He is a writer, photography enthusiast, sports fan, movie geek, stroke survivor, and an adventurous foodie. He lives in San Diego, California with his wife and son. 

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