Okay, confession time. I’d heard that Bella Thorne ‘wrote*’ a novel, and was one of the first Disney Channel Stars to break into the publishing world, and that’s more than half the reason I picked up this book. I’m not a huge Bella Thorne fan, but I know a little about her story, and found the premise of a fictional autobiography somewhat entertaining.
Anyway, let’s talk about the story!
When Autumn loses her dad and has to move to Florida, she struggles with finding friends, and staying out of trouble. Which, isn’t the easiest thing to do when the school’s Queen Bee keeps making her life miserable by posing an embarrassing photo and creating a fake website that looks like Autumn created!
While the novel definitely feels like it was written for the 9-13 year old age range of Ms. Thorne’s fans, she does it in a heartfelt and beautiful way. Yes, it is a middlegrade book, so included the cliche heartthrob who suddenly sees how wonderful she is, and the inevitable sweepstakes that she’s forced to enter and (I won’t spoil this part, but you probably know how it goes).
I guess I just expected a little more from the story, which is why I was a little disappointed. I listened to the audio book (read by Bella Thorne), and her acting was pretty good, but even as she read it the book sounded stilted. Not many contractions, formulaic prose, etc.
I think my favorite part was when Autumn gets the journal, and uses it to make wishes, and realizes how they can backfire. I really liked how her character seemed to react and adjust when her wishes would hurt someone, and how she grew to realize that getting back wasn’t really worth it.
A cute story, but better for the middle grade audiences. Especially if they’re fans of the author from her stint on Disney Channel.
*One thing you may have trouble finding is the name of Bella Thorne’s ghost-writer. That’s Elise Allen. I was curious, and found a USMagazine article where Bella Thorne explains that she would draft out what would happen chapter by chapter, and then work with her ghostwriter to figure out characters and create action in every chapter. “She’ll send back to me a draft and then I’ll make more notes and send it back to her.” Elise Allen has also co-authored on Hilary Duff’s Elixir series (haven’t read it). I was a little disappointed that the Disney Star didn’t actually write the book herself, but I guess that’s Hollywood.