Reviewed by Ami
Title: That Doesn’t Belong Here
Author: Dan Ackerman
Heroes: Levi & Kato
Genre: M/M New Adult Fantasy
Length: 170 pages
Publisher: Supposed Crimes
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: That Doesn’t Belong Here begins when Levi and his friend Emily discover an impossible creature in an abandoned pick up. The thing is wounded, frightened and the two friends cannot leave him to the mercy of rubberneckers and tourists. This novel explores what it means to be a person, as the creature, Kato, begins to display not mere intelligence or friendliness but what can only be explained as humanity. The question of who we are allowed to love arises for Levi and Kato, as they are not just crossing the boundaries of gender or sexuality, but of species.
On an early morning, Levi and Emily find an injured creature – with tail, slender fins, a person-shaped torso, and a humanly face – on a silver pick-up in the middle of the ocean. The best friends decided to bring the creature – who later reveal his name as Kato – to Emily’s house with its own private beach so it can heal itself there. Along the way, the three becomes good friends. Especially for Levi and Kato things might even shaped into something more loving…
That Doesn’t Belong Here is a sweet and touching story between a Jewish boy, his lesbian girlfriend, and an endearing merman that I just want to hug and protect from all harms that human can do to other creatures. It is Dan Ackerman’s second book – after What Everyone Deserves, which was released last year – and I was hooked right from the beginning.
Truthfully, it is SO easy to fall for Kato, even if the first part — I’m saying ‘part’ as loose term here – is taken from Levi’s perspective. We don’t get Kato’s perspective until he is recaptured and taken to a park where he becomes part of a show (pretty much being treated like dolphins or seals). Kato is such a sweetheart – from how he loves his foods, to learn English, to how he befriends Levi and Emily. He’s simply wonderful!
However, this book is also about Levi – and how he deals with his sexuality. As a Jewish boy, Levi is in self-denial about his sexual interest. Levi is also not very confident with how he looks (He did not peel off his shirt, not wanting her to see what his brother called his ‘fatboy tits’, his scraggly patch of chest hair or his pasty white skin). It takes time for Levi to accept his attraction towards a non-human creature. It was this personal journey that I enjoyed reading immensely.
I also like the secondary characters – Levi’s best friend Emily and her girlfriend, Charlotte. Both are supportive and protective of Kato’s existence. I was also quite taken with Charlotte who is described as having autism.
I still think that Levi’s relationship with his family hasn’t been fully explored though. How do they react with the news about Levi and Kato? The ending feels a little bit open for me, more of happy for now, and I would love to see more closure about them.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*