Teen Disney star working on novel

Here’s a reality check for our egos. How many Twitter followers do you have at your age? Because Bella Thorne is 15 and she has 4.4 million followers.

Bella is the talented actress-singer-dancer star of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up.”

And she just turned in the first draft of a novel on Tuesday. Her Random House book has a crafty premise.

“It’s an actual story about a girl who moves to Miami for high school, and she does not fit in. She’s got big red, frizzy curly hair, super, super pale skin,” the redhead tells me.

“Her father passes away and leaves her a journal. And when she writes in it, things happen. And not only do they happen, but since she’s dyslexic, they happen kind of wrong and twisted.”

Why did Thorne write this book?

“I wanted to do something that showed kids: I don’t care what disability you have. I don’t care who tells you, ‘You can’t.’ Because if I’m dyslexic and I can write a book, that shows you, you can too.”

Her goal is to speak out on bullying and other problems kids face.

“I was bullied a lot when I was younger and I was in school, because I’m dyslexic. That was really hard. I stopped public school because of it. And I just went to Sylvan Learning center and home schooling, because I couldn’t do it anymore. It was too much.”

She still gets cyber bullied now.

“I’m trying to get people to stop (bullying each other), because of the rate of teen deaths going on from suicide, because kids won’t stop bullying them.

“It’s not just teenagers. I’ve seen kids who are 10 years old bully other kids. Honestly, it floors my mind.

“It used to be people would get bullied a little bit in school. Now it’s everywhere you go. You can’t escape it.”

Bella is coming to Vegas next week to raise money for the excellent Lili Claire Foundation, which helps kids who have serious development disabilities.

Fans can meet Bella 4-6 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Lili Claire’s three-day family carnival and state-fair event, Nevada Wild Fest at the Rio. (Fest tickets cost just $6-$10 via NevadaWildFest.com.)

Next year, Bella’s book comes out, along with an album, plus a comedy with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (“The Familymoon”), and a movie with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner (“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”).

But when I ask her what she wants me to tell fans, she doesn’t ask me to promote all that. Instead, she says:

“I love them. No matter what (kids are doing) — if it’s dancing, singing, school or math — I just want them to keep trying harder, because everything gets hard in life. You just have to stick it out.”

Does she give herself that advice?

“All the time,” she says. “And I have a really great family background and support. For me, even if I’m having a hard time, I always have my mom or my brother.”

If she becomes a superstar, will she be able to handle it?

“I don’t pay attention to all that. I’m the exact same girl that would be bullied every day in school when I was 5,” she said.

Wow, I say to her, the bullying she suffered really left a lasting impression.


Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.