Book Review: The Butterfly Effect, by Rachel Mans McKenny

Image belongs to Alcove Press.

Title: The Butterfly Effect
Author: Rachel Mans McKenny
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.0 out of 5

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 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.

Once I got past the idea that Greta was just an unlikable person, I enjoyed this book. But yeah, Greta is kind of a jerk. I mean, I get her being uncomfortable around people and not having any idea what to say, but…being deliberately mean and unfeeling is a bit much.

Good writing here and I like the concept—entomology fascinates me, and I’d love to work in the rainforest or a butterfly conservatory—but Greta was unlikable enough to detract from the read. And…the cover makes this look like a light rom com read, but it’s not. It’s really much more a journey of discovery for someone who’s never bothered to care about anyone besides herself.

Rachel Mans McKenny is from the Midwest. The Butterfly Effect is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Alcove Press in exchange for an honest review.)

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