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The Butterfly Effect

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The Butterfly Effect

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.

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“I loved it. Rachel Mans McKenny has given us a lovably grumpy and unfiltered heroine. As a reader, you’ll undergo your own metamorphosis and realize how much you needed this story of a PhD who’s an EQ underachiever, who can quote Star Trek’s Prime Directive but is refreshingly not adorkable, and who'll rescue a silverfish before figuring out how to rescue herself. The Butterfly Effect gives us an emotional magnifying glass to recognize the smallest moments of what it means to be human and to outgrow our chrysalis to become someone more, maybe even someone with wings.”

Faith Salie, Emmy-winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and author of Approval Junkie

About the author

Rachel Mans McKenny is a humorist, essayist, and professor from the Midwest. Her work has been featured recently in The New York Times, the Washington Post, McSweeney's, Catapult, Electric Lit, and other outlets. The Butterfly Effect is her debut novel.


“Generally, there are two things that will earn a book an instant five stars from me: 1) being extremely quotable and 2) making me cry. I can count the number of books that have made me cry on one hand. The Butterfly Effect is one of them. The ending is so perfectly satisfying and Greta is such a compelling character that it had me up at 2am bawling.”

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