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Rat Park

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Dominic has lived with an empty ache inside him for as long as he could remember. Maybe it started when he was six, hiding beneath his blankets as the wild animal noises of one of mom’s parties echoed in his head. Maybe it began the first time an adult plied him with drinks just to watch him stumble about.

Or, maybe, it was that he couldn’t even imagine what being loved sh
Kindle Edition, 377 pages
Published January 28th 2019
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  165 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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☆ Todd
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it

While not super-angsty, I still wouldn't describe this addiction story as an easy read.

We first met Dominic at an early age, and seeing the level of maternal neglect and how his young life took one wrong turn after another, Lord, yeah, not exactly uplifting.

Yet, ironically, it was a byproduct of landing in prison for drug trafficking that eventually saved Dominic's life, finally turning it around for the better.

I loved Kat, Esteban, and Flor, a local family who saw something "more" in Dominic,
Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
I've talked before about my day job which by all accounts should've kept me far, far away from this book, but I wanted to try this author so despite the fact that I average a Dominic a week I hit the request button. The job can be a grind but sometimes I get one that I really feel like I helped, that I believe will turn it around and that makes it worthwhile.

The problem with books that deal with this topic and population is so many of them get it wrong. They make it about the addiction or the
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
4.5 Stars!

This isn't the type of book I typically prefer to read. I don't like to read about addiction. And the overall feel of this one was rather melancholy.

But man, I really really liked Dominic. And I so wanted him to overcome his past. It was hard not to root for him.

And all of the love for the Romero's.

I was really pleasantly surprised by this new to me author. The writing was really great. I'll definitely be checking out more from this author.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was a bit apprehensive going into this book, given the nature of the story but I should have known that what I was given by Marina Vivancos would be so much more than just a book about addiction.

She weaves the reader so deeply into Dominic's life that each of his hurts, each of his relapses, each poor choice and each fighting moment when it becomes too hard to keep going, become our own.

And then, as in each of her books, she brings hope, a found family, one with only kindness and no expectatio
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hurt-comfort, mm
This was a difficult read. I love hurt/comfort, but I don’t really like to read about people who constantly doubt themselves. The inner angst in this was too much for me.

And while this was quite the compelling story, it was also super angsty.

This book starts with Dominic just 8 years old. The way he grew up and got introduced to drugs was almost too heartbreaking for me to read. I did put this book down and read another book, but I eventually decided to pick this up again. The first 20% were ve
Feb 27, 2019 added it
Recommended to Debra by: Taylin
3.5 stars

This was a new-to-me author and the story came highly recommended from several trusted friends. While I didn't have the "blown away" experience they did, there is quite a bit to like in the story, but there was also quite a bit that bothered me throughout.

The beginning of the story delves into Dominic's rough childhood and teen years. Living with a mother who is an addict in a house where the party is usually at, it's not hard to see why Dominic winds up addicted and running drugs at
Sanaa Z.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5-4.75 stars.

My God, this was not an easy read. Although it doesn't have any angst either which I'm not gonna lie, I was thankful for because all those feels.

You start the book early on in Dominic's life and go well into the thirties (I think?). Dominic hasn't lived an easy life by any means which made me just wanna give me a hug and protect him from the world. It all changes when he meets the Romero's.

Flor and Dominic have an amazing relationship. Although it's not perfect, it was real an
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars. For a relatively new author, MV is one of my few autobuys and also one of the very, very few authors I stalk looking for their next book. Her writing is always tight, lyrical and intense. She has a good grasp of her character motivations and gives us plenty of time to get to know the MC's and become completely invested in their lives. This book was no different. I loved this book. I couldn't put it down.

One observation of her style of epic storytelling that involves years and years o
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
This book was a surprising hit for me. It started off rough in the first 20sh%.


-Unfit parent
-Underage drug use. Reading about a minor snorting coke, injecting heroin, and smoking crack were difficult.

I put the book down and questioned if I could go back to it. After a couple of days, I picked it back up, and I'm glad I did.

That's not to say everything was rainbows and butterflies, but it got better. The story is strictly told from Dominic's POV as it is his story of healing and perseveran
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, 2019
*Deep breath* Be prepared for an laborious, excellent story.

We follow Dominic from when he was a little boy till early thirties. At barely seventeen Dominic was put into juvie... caught being a drug runner. The years before that were hard and rough. Drugs are familiar and a way out.
So much self destructive thoughts were going through his head.

“Dominic hated everything. He hated the air in his lungs and his body and his pathetic self”

After going further downwards Dominic is again in jail, gettin
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t like drugs in my books. Addictive, hard core drugs just aren’t romantic to me so I usually avoid anything with “addiction” in the pages. This book would have been avoided had I known just how much this focused on addiction.

I think I decided to read this because I thought it would be a book about two boys falling in love, one who is an addict. And I thought that was just right there on the edge of what I am comfortable with, ya know? That isn’t what this book was really, but at the same
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marina Vivancos is a new-to-me author. The blurb was intriguing and sounded interesting, yet at the same time had me incredibly nervous about what I would be reading in this book.

Dominic.... I have so many thoughts and feelings about Dominic. What he had grown up dealing with, and being around people, including his horrible mother who should have never been allowed to be a parent. Those types of things will definitely shape a person on how they act and react to situations further down the road.
Jai (TheBookNista)
I’m not going to lie, I took one look at the title and thought to myself, really? How good can a book named Rat Park really be? But then I read the synopsis and I was even more intrigued. A troubled childhood, addiction and found family? Sounds like it was right up my alley. So, I thought to myself I’ll read the first few chapters and if I didn’t find myself liking it, I would DNF as I have many books this year so far. None have really spoken to me except for one or two.

Until now.

Serra ᵔ·͈༝·͈ᵔ
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic read!

I’ve some experience working in addiction counseling, so I’m extra nitpicky when it comes to its’ depiction, but the author absolutely nailed it. Dominic’s struggle with addiction is as real as it’s accurate, with its’ ups and downs, with heartbreak and tears along the way. However, essentially, this is a story of hope, of healing and getting back up no matter how tough it gets, a story of the power of love and connection.

Dominic and Flo’s relationship is as incredible as
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really difficult but very well written story about addiction that began for a boy young. Dominic had an awful childhood & pointed him to the wrong people. One day he was fortunate to meet up with a family who saw more in him. Painfully true story about the struggles of addiction and recovery, the daily obstacles, mental struggles, and external battles. Wonderfully done
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bbj, arc
Rat Park is a stand-alone by Marina Vivancos. Damien is the son of a single mother drug user. Growing up he sees her using and partying, and doesn’t quite understand what’s going on. Eventually after witnessing an overdose he is removed from home. He is finally somewhat happy and feels normal until he gets put back into his home, where he starts using and selling drugs himself, and one day finds himself in juvie. When he gets released he finds out he is not welcome back home; from there he spira ...more
susana ✷
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
hands down this is the most beautiful book in the world. i loved every single page of it. it was all perfect. dominic and flor own my entire heart!!!
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book!!!!

I'm not sure if it's my love for an addict affected how I feel about this book or not but this book brought out all the feels. There were times when I was expecting or hoping for something different to happen or be said but Marina knew better than I. The way she wrote these two characters...amazing.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, reviewed, abuse
Dominic’s life was never normal. He learned from addict mom that drugs could dull his pain. Giving him the strength to get through his life. Leading him straight to jail. A stubborn, wonderful woman took him under her wings. Giving him the sense of family he’d never had. Her son Flor, gave him the love he didn’t even know he needed.

The portrayal of Dominic’s youth was heartbreaking. Watching the adult working to overcome his past and addiction was also heartbreaking, but ultimately satisfying. F
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, boys-like-boys
i have so much love in my heart for everything marina vivancos writes. i wish everything she published was available in paperback so i could put all her books on my bookshelf!

the writing!! the flow of words is so perfect to me. even when the content is angsty, the prose feels so right that it calms me down. i cant even explain it right, but every time i start a vivancos book its like coming home after a long day.

i gotta say, the timing with this book's release was pretty great seeing as i'm goin
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was so good! It's been ages since I've read 5 star mm romance.
Stella ╰☆╮╰☆╮
Rat Park is the first book I read by Marina Vivancos and it will not be the last, I adored every single page, and I wasn’t able to find a little reason to give it less than the full five stars. It was a
lovely surprise. I have to admit at the beginning I was a little dubious, the story starts with Dominic when he’s just seven years old and things become soon nasty. Reading the first chapters was not easy, I was afraid the author was going to give me some difficult scenes to deal with. Yes, so man
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars

This one was so sweet. Despite the content, I didn’t find it too be too angsty as the story moves at a pretty brisk pace throughout.

Dominic, ugh, I just wanted to squeeze him. He was such a kind soul. It was very compelling to read from the mind of an addict on the mend. While I wanted him to believe in himself more; it’s easy to relate to his guilt and struggle to deem himself worthy of good things in his life.

And Flor - sweet, energetic, and stubborn. He was the perfect person to he
Amy Dufera
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marina Vivancos' Rat Park is an absolutely amazing book. From page one, I was sucked in, and couldn't put it down.

It's a powerful story of drugs, self loathing, homelessness, and violence.

It's a exquisite tale of growing up too soon, seeing things a kid shouldn't see, and doing things a kid shouldn't be doing. It's about falling a victim to your circumstances.

The author dives into the downward spiral that happens when you have no self worth. She expertly writes what happens when you believe you
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
3,5 stars rounded down

It was definitely more than an okay read for me, It made me cry sometimes. But I have to say I’ve been an emotional mess all week. I loved the premise of this story, but something felt a little bit off for me. I really can’t explain it in details, but I wasn’t emotionally connected to Dominic and/or Flor. Although I loved the age gap between them.

I got a little tired of Dominic’s guilt trips and pushing people away because he was an recovering addict. Maybe It’s common with
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
See, now here is a Marina Vivancos book that I will never forget. My goodness, her talent at getting you so emotionally invested in a story, of feeling a character's pain, shame, guilt, happiness, joy . . . its masterful.

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. I am so happy that Dominic got his HEA. He really deserves it.
Victoria Taylor
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Truly great portrayal of recovery and the power of connection. Really loved Flor and his parents who never gave up on Dominic and Dominic was such an amazing character. Highly recommended!
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love love how Marina writes
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When Marina was a child she couldn’t sleep. Night after dissolving night she just couldn’t sleep. Nothing much worked – until she started making up stories in her head. Suddenly, the transition into unconsciousness was a smooth dive into calm waters.

Marina is currently in a period of sleepless upheaval, and she hopes writing down the stories in her head will cast the same spell it did years ago.
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