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The Butterfly Effect

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  134 reviews
A feminist Man Called Ove meets Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project in this rollicking tale of a grumpy introvert, her astonishing lack of social conduct 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. Greta far prefers the company of bugs to hu
Published December 8th 2020 by Alcove Press
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
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Rachel McKenny
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote this! I hope you like it, and maybe after you’re done you’ll further appreciate insects and women who are perpetually prompted to smile more.
Barbara Conrey
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked The Butterfly Effect because the positive to liking and understanding insects more than people is rather intriguing. What you see is what you get when a butterfly lands on your finger; if he wants to be someplace else, he simply flies away. So there's no 'does he/doesn't he' relationship going on.

I also liked that Greta was not initially likable. Also, there's the whole twin thing. I find the relationship between twins fascinating in an almost sacred way.

Well-written and entertaining,
Lesley Kagen
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! Absolutely loved it!
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

DNF @ p.49

I'm not sure what I was expecting with this one but it wasn't what I got. The blurb compares this book to THE ROSIE PROJECT, but I've read THE ROSIE PROJECT and didn't think they were really all that similar apart from having leads who both appeared to be on the autism spectrum. The science hook really got me but I was kind of disappointed that the heroine's alleged passion for what she did didn't really translate into the narr
Kristin O'Keeffe
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous read! Highly recommend!
Susan's Reviews
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I'm going to rate this one a 3.8 out of 5, rounded up to a four. This novel is well-written, instructive, and often perceptive. There were a few passages that could have been omitted and I admit I started skimming over some of the flash backs, because they came across as filler and didn't really drive the action forward or enhance our knowledge of the characters or the story line. The lo
Kelly Duran
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-debuts
There is something so fantastic about falling in love with a book that has an unlikable and, at times unpleasant, protagonist. A person that you find yourself rooting for even as she treats the people around her badly. That was exactly what I found in THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT and I loved every chapter.

Greta Oto is a wonderfully flawed character who prefers the company of butterflies—or any bug actually—to real people. She’s a scientist first in all situations because science she understands; love a
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny for one of the most unforgettable characters I have read. Greta Oto is an especially unique protagonist - an unpleasant grouch, whom I think would thrive living in this current pandemic. Greta would only be so happy with these stay-at-home orders and maintaining the 6 feet apart distance from everyone else, not having to socialize nor talk to anyone, unless you are an insect, that is. Greta’s character really appealed to me the ...more
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Smart and surly Greta is the lovably-flawed protagonist at the center of Mans McKenny’s delightfully off-kilter debut. Greta’s comically critical point of view interrogates midwestern norms and gendered stereotypes in a story that explores the legacy of familial dysfunction. Come for the butterflies, and stay for Mans McKenny's acerbic authorial eye which examines the complexities of the Midwest and its quiet dramas. ...more
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, the story of Greta who is a scientist currently doing a PhD . She was in Costa Rica undertaking research in a rainforest, but was called back because her twin brother had had a brain haemorrhage . This threw her plans into disarray, though she did find the way to complete alternative research.
It has to be said that Greta is an antisocial person and she and her brother had an unconventional childhood. Their father has passed away and their mother is estranged, though she is
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a rather interesting book. Greta is definitely different from the typical romance character. The insect discussions make this book unique. I really like Greta at the end but it does take a while to warm up to her because she is unusual. I like the HEA and the twists along the way.
Elizabeth Plunkett
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was sucked into The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny from the start. While some books take a while to draw you in, with this one I was fully immerse in the story on page one and loved it! McKenny writes such real, three dimensional characters. While Greta could be prickly at times, I really wanted to see her succeed and enjoyed seeing where McKenny would lead the story. Unlike other romcoms, The Butterfly Effect dives into family relationships and illness with grace and grit. I think th ...more
Jacqueline Allan
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sincere thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for providing me with an ebook copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is not my usual genre,  however I wanted to take the opportunity to read something from outside my norm. And I am glad I did!! Thank you for  opening up my mind to something totally different. Characters were so well developed that I felt as though I knew them. I love when a book draws you into the story and it feels like you are living it wit
Rebecca Brancato
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy for my honest review. I loved the idea of this book and I thought it was very well done. The author knows her butterflies!! I could have done without a lot of the flashbacks as they really weren’t important to the story line. Also the ending felt really rushed. I am happy with it but would have loved some more details (trying not to spoil). All in all I loved the book!
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-digital, fiction, 2020
Originally published on my book blog,

In the debut novel from Rachel Mans McKenny, The Butterfly Effect, Greta Oto is more a spiny caterpillar than beautiful butterfly. Even though she’s an entomology graduate student, specializing in the winged creatures. She’s not socially comfortable in most situations. Her relationships are off kilter, mostly because of her own tendencies. But McKenny lets us into Greta’s thoughts and her heart, so we understand her more than the people ar
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I did not relate to the main character, Greta, and that is a good thing. Greta has issues. Lots and lots of issues. She is socially awkward with severe parental abandonment issues. Greta is blunt and accurately compares herself to the Star Trek Borg when it comes to relating to others. Greta is in school working on her doctorate which is about insects. Just as she is heading to Costa Rica she receives a call about her brother, her twin, who has suffered from an aneurism and is hospitalized. The ...more
Oct 07, 2020 marked it as dnf
Shelves: free-arc
DNF at 15%

It was boring and the female protagonist is selfish. The blurb seemed good and the title was unique, that's why I was a bit excited. However, I just didn't like it.

Arc provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Nisha Joshi (reading only ARCs and rom-coms rn)
I liked this book right from the beginning. The story is good, the writing is great and the characters are well sketched out. Greta is not very likeable but the other characters make up for it. in fact, at times, i even wondered why others even tolerated Greta and her behaviour. This book talks about family and why it is important to have a support system without sounding preachy. Overall, a funny and insightful book. I will look forward to reading more from Rachel Mans McKenny.

Thanks to Netgall
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it


“The Butterfly Effect” is a lovely contemporary tale about family and reconnecting, and I enjoyed reading it.

To begin with, the author has a lovely style of writing. I loved the number of details she added to the story. It was clear that she made a lot of research and effort into writing this novel. I love how it blended with the storyline. I am not an Entomology expert, but it was fascinating reading Greta’s personal compari
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Rachel will be a guest on the podcast soon so I finally read her book. First of all can we just take a moment to appreciate that *at least three* novels came out in 2020 featuring science grad students as protagonists? I always marvel at patterns like that. (the other two being Real Life by Brandon Taylor and Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight.)

Greta is in the middle of PhD research on butterflies in Costa Rica when her twin brother has an aneurysm. Because their family has a history she is the ne
Linda Zagon
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rachel Mans McKenny, the author of “The Butterfly Effect” has written a memorable, thought-provoking, and heartfelt novel. The genres for this novel are Contemporary Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The author describes her cast of dramatic characters as flawed, complex, and complicated. This is a story of self-awareness, growth, communication, forgiveness, and second chances. I love the way ...more
Sara Oxton
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny a discovery of a four-star read. I had hoped this would be amazing, as it looked like it was going that way, and it was very good, but it did miss something, I don’t know if I missed something but I didn’t get Greta Oto on all levels I wondered if I missed something, or we were supposed to pick up on some sort if disability, or she was secretly a hottie who appears like a nerd, I just felt like I missed something, the rest of the story was so well done ...more
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
Thank you to the author, Alcove Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the unconventional route this story took - making the heroine an entemologist, and showing in practical terms what that means. Not an especially cute and cuddly topic to focus your life's work on (the heroine is a doing a postdoc). But then the heroine herself is pretty much the opposite of cute and cuddly, and her social awkwardness is almost painful at times - not to mention annoying and hor
Lovemybooks2020 Cindy Ward
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own

🍾📖Happy Pub Day to 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙪𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙡𝙮 𝙀𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙘𝙩 by Rachel Mans McKenny 🎉🎊!⁣

𝘈 𝘔𝘢𝘯 𝘊𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘖𝘷𝘦 meets 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘦 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵 in this “delightfully off-kilter” tale of a grumpy introvert and her astonishing lack of social skills.⁣

𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘆: 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 exceptio
Nancy Mijangos
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Greta returns home from a doctoral project to help care for her twin brother, Danny, after he suffers an aneurysm. While at home, away from a research project for her dissertation, she encounters many emotional issue--all of which she finds difficult to navigate. Her most pressing issue is the return of her mother, who abandoned the family when the twins were 14. Another issue is her brother's fiance, whom she disli
Kat Turner
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Butterfly Effect is a unique romcom with wonderful characters and layers of depth to keep you turning pages. Greta was such a refreshing protagonist: complex and reserved with a tender side and an undeniable passion for her career. I learned so much about entomology by seeing the world through her eyes and was invested in her arc from the first page. She grows throughout the book while remaining true to herself, the essence of satisfying character development. Well-developed descriptions tha ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This was such an interesting read for me. It’s firmly located in Ames, Iowa and the surrounding area, and it was a unique experience to read a novel that talked so much about the town I call home! At the center of the book is the relationship between a twin sister (the main protagonist) and her twin brother. As a twin myself, I could also relate to that relationship.

I recommend this book! Especially if you like books about the growth of a character (such as A Man Called Ove or Elinor Oliphant i
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story, well written. Greta is probably hard to like, but I liked her, anyway, and enjoyed seeing her progress through this book. She prefers the company of butterflies to humans, but when she has to return from Costa Rica and give up her grant in order to care for her ailing brother, she has to deal with the humans. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. Highly recommended. ...more
Kathleen Basi
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Greta is supposed to be in Costa Rica, studying butterflies. Instead, she's flown home to Ames, Iowa, because her twin brother--her only family (or so she'd like you to believe)--has suffered an aneurysm. She doesn't realize she's not going back.

Greta is a tough person to love--for everyone in her life. Watching her stumble and go splat on her face again and again could be painful--but at the same time, there's something winsome about her, for all her prickles. You can't help rooting for her to
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't really know a lot about bugs or butterflies, but I feel like I can really relate to Greta. I have always had a hard time making friends, don't have a great relationship with my parents, find small talk difficult, etc. I really enjoyed seeing the changes in Greta throughout the story. Sometimes we do have to get out of our comfort zones to make changes in our life.

I really loved all the information about butterflies, Reiman Gardens, and even Franz Liszt. It was fun to read a story close t
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Rachel Mans McKenny is a writer and humorist from the Midwest. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, McSweeney's, Elle, InStyle, and other outlets. The Butterfly Effect is her debut novel. ...more

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