Monday, July 18, 2016

LGBT Monday: Model Citizen


Model Citizen
Author: Lissa Kasey
Series: Model Citizen, #1
Released: June 22nd 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner 
Length: 220 pages
Source: Bought
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press

Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide. 
Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running. 
When one of Ollie's childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey has it all. It’s an exciting mystery, a wonderful romance and a book that pushes the limits of its genre. Kasey created a unique protagonist with enough complexities and nuances to make him truly unforgettable.

For Ollie Petroskovic, the loss of his older brother Nathan, his only living family member, is devastating. He abandons his modeling career to take over Nathan’s PI business, without a license or any real experience in the field. While Ollie struggles with the feeling of abandonment caused by his brother’s suicide, good friends join forces to keep his head above water. His brother’s old army friend, Kade, comes to live with him and help with the business, but Ollie can’t trust that Kade won’t abandon him just like Nathan did.

There are so very few truly gender fluid characters like Ollie. He was based on Stav Strashko, an androgynous Israeli model who identifies as a woman because society demands it, but who’d prefer not to be categorized at all. Ollie identifies as male, but often dresses in women’s clothes of his own making and fully embraces his gender fluidity. He is a highly paid model at the height of his career and he loves and respects his body precisely how it was made.

Lissa Kasey did an excellent job of explaining the challenges a person like Ollie must face every day, even from those who love him the most. Someone who doesn’t fit into the gender binary molds of society struggles to find a place and be accepted. Even his best friend often failed to take Ollie seriously enough, and the overprotective stance of those closest to him often drove him crazy. But even more than that, the expectations for him to be something easy to define and describe were often crushing. Although he struggled with his role and the way people viewed him, Ollie’s self-image never suffered for a second. We desperately need more characters like him, beacons of hope and self-respect with wonderful defense mechanisms and so much bravery.

The plot itself is very well done and I applaud Kasey for keeping me fully engaged from start to finish. Ollie investigates a case involving his childhood friend and a porn reality show called Sex House. He doesn’t have his PI license nor is he particularly intimidating, but he is very good with people and incredibly clever. Ollie never stumbled around with his case and he never gave me the feeling that I was waiting for him to catch up. He only needed to prove his suspicions and his methods tended to be successful.

Aside from being a good mystery and a thrilling romance, Model Citizen is necessary to the genre. Everything about this book is wonderful and I’d strongly recommend it to everyone, even those who don’t usually choose their reads within the M/M genre.



11 comments:

  1. I haven't read too many books about a character with such an identity struggle, so this book is interesting enough in that merit alone. Combine that with the romance and mystery and I'm pretty much sold. Great review, Maja!

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  2. Sounds like a really well done novel. I don't know of many books with gender fluid characters, so I'm happy to hear you thought Oliver's character was done well.

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  3. It's great to find a good one like hat again mainly with a good mystery part too

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  4. Either than Cam Girl, I haven't read anything with gender fluid characters. It's such a tough subject to write about, authentically, but it sounds like it's really well-done here. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Maja--this book sounds incredibly powerful, moving, and enticing all in one! Will have to add to my TBR for sure!!

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  5. Ooh how cool! Yeah, I can't even think of any fiction I've read with a gender fluid character, except ... Cam Girl? I'd love more though. And this sounds really good!

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  6. Would not be Monday without it

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  7. Sounds like a very interesting story. I've read several M/M books and a few F/F books, but I've never read a book about someone who was gender fluid. The fact that the story has a great mystery plot sounds great too. Great review. Off to add to TBR.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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  8. I don't think I've ever read a book with a gender-fluid protagonist, certainly not in romance, so I'm very curious about this one, Maja. It sounds like the subject matter is handled with care too, so I'll definitely have to look into this.
    Beautiful review!

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  9. Oh this is the first time I see this feature ''LGBT Monday'' and it's such a great idea! I haven't read this one but I love how well-balanced it is :D

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  10. Honestly, I cannot remember a book that had some gender fluid characters. A hint, but not established. Oh yea, this has me curious. I also love that the mystery holds up and Ollie sounds like a very interesting character.

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  11. I've been meaning to read more books with gender fluid characters so this one is perfect to add to my TBR pile. Just grabbed the Kindle edition!

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