Writing novel a ‘victory’ for dyslexic teen sensation Bella Thorne

SHARE Writing novel a ‘victory’ for dyslexic teen sensation Bella Thorne

“Everyone called me stupid,” says Bella Thorne.

“I couldn’t read,” she recalls. “Still, my teacher would make me stand up in front of the class to read. I heard the other kids whisper, ‘She’s just so stupid. Too bad Bella isn’t smart.’ ”

What no one knew in those days in Pembroke, Florida, is that she suffered from dyslexia. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed that she knew what was wrong.

MEET BELLA THORNE When: 2 p.m. Saturday Where: Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson, Naperville Info: (630) 355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com

“It was a relief in a way,” says the 17-year-old, who comes to Naperville this Saturday to meet her fans. “I knew, ‘OK now, you better really study extra because you have to fight through this.’

“At least, I knew that I wasn’t stupid,” says Thorne, best known for her role as Cece Jones on the Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up.” She’s a teen sensation with over 8 million likes on Facebook and 5 million followers on Twitter.

She currently stars in Fox’s “Red Band Society” and has a slew of upcoming movies.

Now she can add author to her list of credits.

“The fact that I’m dyslexic and I’m able to write a book series is a personal victory,” she says.

In the first one, “Autumn Falls,” Thorne introduces main character Autumn, a fiery redhead who is a total klutz at Aventura High. She has her true friends but also rubs the school’s Queen Bee the wrong way. Meanwhile, her crush Sean starts to hang with the mean crowd. Autumn vents her feelings in a journal that belonged to her late father, and all of a sudden, her wildest wishes start coming true.

The book — the first part of a planned trilogy of Autumn’s adventures — is decidedly not about Thorne’s own life.

“Who wants to read about me?” she says with a laugh. “That’s so boring!”

Instead, she wanted to introduce “a girl who is awkward and quirky and funny.”

Thorne wanted the book to teach teens a lesson: “Autumn is someone who wants to make her life perfect, but that’s not possible. You have to live your life and do the best that you can.”

Doing her best wasn’t always easy for Thorne. “It was really hard when the kids called me names,” recalls Thorne, who says her learning challenges were steep. “My first language is Spanish. Then I learned English and learned to read in both languages with dyslexia.

“That’s why it always took me a little longer,” she says. “I also had some bad memories from being bullied that I had to work through in my life.”

What is her advice to kids who are being bullied?

“You gotta stand up for yourself,” she says. “If they’re talking smack to you, talk smack back. The reason they’re bullying you is they obviously have some insecurity within them. And finally, you should always tell your parents if you’re being bullied.”

Thorne is looking forward to meeting fans this Saturday. “My plan is to get a little pizza in Chicago, but the problem is I don’t have any warm clothes. I didn’t plan on a Polar Vortex. But I’m excited to go to Chicago and just hang out a little bit.”

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