Naomi Watts Intensifies this Family Drama in ‘The Book of Henry’

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It’s rare that a movie trailer can surprise us these days. We’re so used to hearing that music swell and watching the main conflict unfold that it almost feels like we could write our own at this point. Which makes the trailer for the upcoming film, The Book of Henry, stand out so much. What begins as a touching, child-genius story rapidly shifts gears, and soon we’re dealing with a mystery and a complicated plan on par with Gone Girl.

Thrilling, moving, sweet, smart, and scary, this movie looks like it’ll have something for everyone. And while it may not be based on a book, it’s certainly centered around a book, as Henry’s inventive solution is at the heart of this compelling story.

Check it out for yourself:

Only one thing is certain after seeing this trailer: we have to see this movie. The Book of Henry opens today and stars Naomi Watts as Susan Carpenter, a single mother who’s trying hard to keep it all together. Luckily, she has Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) to help out, an 11-year-old genius who’s used to balancing their bank accounts, investing their money, and constantly looking out for his little brother, Peter (Jacob Tremblay). When Henry befriends the girl next door, he and his family start to realize that something terrible is going on in her house. Henry writes a book on how to solve the horrific problem, which leads his mother and brother on a journey that will change all of their lives forever.

If you’re craving even more intense family dramas after you watch The Book of Henry, here are four books that are just as suspenseful and heartfelt:

Do Not Become Alarmed, Maile Meloy (Riverhead Books, June 6, 2017)

Book of Henry Do Not Become AlarmedIt was supposed to be a fun, relaxing cruise. But when Liv and Nora book a vacation for their families, they have no idea just how wrong everything will go. Lulled into a false sense of safety, the women and their two husbands feel comfortable allowing their young children to explore the ship and everything it has to offer. But when they go ashore at one of the designated stops, the children go missing. Told from the point of view of both the adults and the kids, the book dives into their adventures and their spiraling panic, as the adults begin to turn on one another and the children are forced to find an independence and fortitude they’ve never known before. Just like The Book of Henry, this is a suspenseful but moving story that takes a sharp look at parenting in our modern world.

Here Lies Daniel Tate, Cristin Terrill (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, June 6, 2017)

Book of Henry Here Lies Daniel TateThis young adult novel reminds us of the documentary The Imposter, only with even more suspense built into that true tale. Daniel Tate went missing from his wealthy family as a child, only to turn up years later on the streets of Canada. Only there’s one problem: the boy isn’t really Daniel Tate. A young con artist searching for a family to call his own, the new Daniel Tate is excited to settle into this charmed and family-centric life. That is, until he realizes that there might be something far more sinister about why the real Daniel Tate went missing. If he wants to make it out alive, he’ll need to do whatever it takes to find out the truth.

Grief Cottage, Gail Godwin (Bloomsbury, June 6, 2017)

Book of Henry Grief CottageJust like The Book of Henry, Grief Cottage is about a precocious 11 year old dealing with stuff well beyond his years. After the death of his mother, Marcus’ world is rocked even more when he’s sent to live with his Aunt Charlotte on an island in South Carolina. To make matters worse, Charlotte lives near “grief cottage,” a local spot thought to be haunted after a family disappeared there years before. When Marcus encounters the ghost boy who went missing, he becomes determined to befriend him. But the ghost may have dark ulterior motives, ultimately forcing Marcus to confront his own memories and the grief that they bring.

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate (Ballantine Books, June 6, 2017)

Book of Henry Before We Were YoursAlternating between the present and the past, Before We Were Yours is a dark look at America’s history. Based on the real life story of Georgia Tann, who sold off kidnapped and poor children around the Great Depression, the book follows the Foss siblings after they’re forcibly taken from their family’s boat and brought to an orphanage in 1939. It’s up to 12-year-old Rill to try and keep her younger siblings together, even as their futures are more uncertain than ever. In the present storyline, wealthy Avery Stafford decides to look back into her family’s history, and discovers a truth that will change everything. Both a thoughtful take on childhood and a deeply disturbing look at society’s treatment of the poor, this is the perfect book for those who are still craving a smart family tale after watching The Book of Henry.

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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