Thean Tim thought Books of Magic 4: Consequences by Carla Jablonski (2003)
When you find the decapitated head of the imaginary friend you had when you were five...well, you know you're going to have a difficult day.
Let's back up a bit and talk about The Books of Magic. Back in 1998,Neil Gaiman received a call from Karen Berger, an editor for DC Comics; she wanted him to write a comic about the history of magic in the DC Comics universe. "Sort of a who's Who, but with a story?" Gaiman at first declined, but the idea gnawed at him until he relented. Teaming with artist John Bolton, he produced the first four volumes of The Books of Magic comics featuring 13-year-old Timothy Hunter.
Young Tim receives a visit from a group of people he calls The Trenchcoat Brigade, among them were John Constantine and the magician Zatanna. They inform Tim that he is (or, at least, has the power to be) the most powerful magician ever. They take him to the past where he saw Atlantis sink, and across the Atlantic to America, to the Land of Faerie, and to the end of eternity. Back in London, young Tim is left to digest all of this. Being the most powerful magician ever might have been something cool except poor Tim doesn't know how to perform magic, and when he does, it's by accident and doesn't turn out exactly as he wants. The Books of Magic a monthly title for DC and the writing duties were taken over by John Ney Reiber. In 2002, Carla Jablonski began writing YA novels based on the comic book.Consequences was the fourth in the series and was based on The Books of Magic: Summonings, a story serialized in 1994 and 1995.
By this time, Tim has learned that his real father is Tamlin, the Falconer of Queen Titania of Faerie and who had sacrificed himself to save Tim from Queen Titania. (The man who had raised Tim and whom he had thought of as father had married Tim's mother while she was pregnant, knowing that he was not the child's father. Tim's mother had died in an automobile accident tht has also taken his father's arm.) Tim also has met Molly O'Reilly, a fearless girl who has become his best (actually, only) friend. Tim vaguely realizes his feelings about Mollie may go beyond friendship -- something to do with hormones or something, I guess.
Anyway, Mollie is his best friend and Tim feels guilty about not telling her that he is a magician. He is determined to finally tell her the truth when he stumbles on the severed head of his childhood imaginary friend. He soon realizes that thoughts have consequences and that, since he learned about his powers, his thoughts that he had when he was very young have taken on a reality of their own. Tim's last adventure had been in Free Country, a land where unwanted children could live safely forever as children. (Any relation to Never Never Land is intentional.) Young teen Marya had decided that she did not want to be a child forever so she snuck along as Tim left Free Country. Marya's friend Daniel thinks that Tim had seduced Marya and fostered a strong hatred toward Tim. Daniel vows to leave Free Country, find Tim, and destroy him.
Meanwhile in Faerie, King Auberon is bored and decides to visit the world of the humans for a bit of adventure. And, in the sewers of London, a clockwork Fagin-like character named Slaggingham is using magic to suck the souls from his minions. And a unicorn is roaming about London. And Awn the Blink is busy making things not work. And Queen Titania really, really wants to kill Tim. And Marya is busy taking dance lessons. And Daniel has arrived in a choking dust cloud made of his rage and anger.
And all Tim wants to do is have an ice cream with Mollie.
A fun book and a fun series. I'm going to have to read the others.
(And by the way, if you need a really neat steampunk swear, there's one in the book: "Tippy-tappy torque wrench!" Feel free to use it whenever you are mad or frustrated.)