Kel E Lyle

whimsical tales of hope and ambition

After self-destructing and destroying her friendships at the end of the school year, eleven-year-old Ello has spent her summer angry and alone. Her outdoor adventures reveal a boy her age living in the mysterious neighbor’s house. She forces her way in and discovers that Oliver is a magician-in-training, and that the house (and everything inside) is magical! Oliver fears that Ello will hurt the magical artifacts in his care, however unintentionally, and their clashing causes the house to throw a tantrum and lock them both out. Now they have to work together to soothe the house. But practicing magic means treating everything with care, and Ello’s life is full of disposable plastic: toys, clothes, even her bedroom carpet. They decide to get rid of it all, ironically making the problem worse. 

Ello wants to walk away. After all, plastic can do everything magic can do and Oliver is just as bad at being a friend as she is. But as she starts to realize that the joy of magic comes from choosing it, Oliver makes a risky decision to fix things and his house summons Ello back to rescue him. Ello realizes that she may not be willing to give up on the magic next door just yet… 

Complete at 50,000 words (and not an unedited NaNoWriMo novel, I promise), THE MAGIC NEXT DOOR stands alone as a middle grade contemporary fantasy with series potential. Inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it will appeal to fans of Hilary McKay and Studio Ghibli.