Category Archives: The Butterfly Effect

Review: The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny

Title: The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 328 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


“A warm, winning debut from a talented new Midwestern voice.” –J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

A Man Called Ove meets The Rosie Project in this “delightfully off-kilter” (Rachel Yoder, Nightbitch) tale of a grumpy introvert, her astonishing lack of social skills and empirical data-driven approach to people and relationships.

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it–and totally relate. An entomologist, Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they’ve recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.

But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there’s only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don’t stay cooped up in their hives either–they buzz about and… socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, and can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away. Being that Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it’s all creating chaos of Greta’s perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world. But real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.

The Butterfly Effect is an unconventional tale of self-discovery, navigating relationships, and how sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.


The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny is a captivating novel of family, love and self-discovery.

Greta Oto is slightly estranged from her twin brother Danny, but she does not hesitate to fly home from Costa Rica when she learns he is in serious condition at the hospital.  But returning home is not easy since she sublet her apartment, she does not like Danny’s girlfriend Meg and she is now working for her ex. Greta is also shocked to discover Danny has been in contact with a very unexpected person.  While stumbling through a new subject for her thesis, Greta is also struggling to maintain her friendship with Max who is suddenly not as accepting of her faults as he was before. With Danny’s life changing so drastically in the aftermath of the aneurysm,  what will Greta do about her own future?

Greta is more comfortable with bugs than people and she is somewhat prickly. She is also socially awkward out of the laboratory so she is not exactly warm and fuzzy.  Greta is not at all comfortable talking about her feelings but she knows she needs to express her regrets to Danny about her behavior. She also makes no effort to hide her dislike for  Meg but she does set aside her disdain for Danny’s sake. Greta is also at a loss as cracks begin to appear in her friendship with Max. Having completely messed up her life, will Greta figure out how to fix her mistakes before it is too late?

The Butterfly Effect is a heartfelt novel with an engaging storyline and interesting characters.  Greta is flawed and imperfect, but it is easy to root for her as she gradually realizes she needs to make changes in both her life and herself. Danny’s situation is heartrending and his struggles are realistically depicted.  Rachel Mans McKenny brings this charming novel to a heartwarming and uplifting conclusion.  I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this wonderful debut to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Contemporary, Rachel McKenny, Rated B+, Review, The Butterfly Effect, Women's Fiction