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Rarity From the Hollow, by Robert Eggleton, is a bizarre and unique tale. It involves a gigantic alien mall, telepathic roaches, a ghost inhabiting a piece of firewood, competitive shopping, an android that’s turning human and dealing with puberty, an early-teens girl who’s being paid by aliens to save the universe, and a whole lot of weed and erections. Also, it includes an intergalactic yard sale.

I found one major aspect of the writing confusing until I finally figured it out (maybe it should have been obvious, but it’s just so unusual). After many conversational pieces, there’ll be a second brief paragraph that looks like conversation but in plain text with no attribution of any kind. What made it even harder to grasp was the fact that they seemed like thoughts of different people. It’s so rare for books to go the full third-person omniscient route that it took me a while to realize that’s exactly what Eggleton was doing. So, whenever there’s something that reads like thought or dialogue but doesn’t have quotation marks, it’s a thought taken from the mind of whoever just had the last dialogue line.

Despite the fact that the main character (Lacy Dawn) is a girl in her early teens, this isn’t a book for that age group. Most of the sex-related humor is pretty harmless (near-constant erections, lots of masturbation, some off-screen sex, and a ton of teasing), but there are some early background pieces that involve child molestation and other types of child abuse. The volume of erections and masturbation got a bit old, but that kind of humor is very reader-dependent.

I found the side characters more interesting than Lacey. There’s DotCom (the android), Tom (the harmless pot-growing neighbor), Lacy Dawn’s parents (they start out abusive and literally get a personality overhaul a short distance into the book), Faith (the dead friend of Lacy Dawn), and Brownie (the dog). DotCom becomes pretty annoying when he undergoes puberty and the constant accompanying erections get pretty old, but he eventually recovers.

I can’t really get into how Lacy Dawn is expected to save the universe, nor what she’s supposed to save it from, since a large portion of the book is occupied with figuring out those two pieces of information. I will say that the book drew me in well enough that I really wanted to know how they would pull it off, and I enjoyed the payoff.