When Calvin Coconut's father schedules a concert in Oahu to promote his popular new album, Rocket Ride, Calvin is nervous and excited to see him for the first time in four years.
This is the eighth offering in a highly entertaining, heartfelt series. As in previous story arcs, Calvin must contend with a bully, Tito, whose obnoxious behavior often creates quandaries for Calvin as he squares off against him, which he does even as he realistically quakes in his boots. This installment is no exception—Tito initially ridicules a girl at school for liking Calvin's dad's music, but that doesn't stop him from later demanding that Calvin score him a ticket for the sold-out show. In a touching turn of events, normally antagonistic Stella, a teen friend of the family who lives with them, shares a bit about her own background to bolster Calvin's spirits. The main event is Calvin's reunion with his father. His dad is contrite, committing to make a change in order to see Calvin and his sister more often. Calvin feels good about this promise and feels immediate warmth toward Marissa, his dad’s new wife. The ease with which everyone accepts one another in Calvin’s family is remarkable, at times perhaps a touch unbelievable. Yet this story is also replete with strengths—funny, genuine dialogue, multidimensional characters and well-paced plotting, to name a few.
Calvin continues to charm. (Fiction. 7-10)