A Meeting of Minds

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"How dare these authors put us in a book? Believe me, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind."

It was a good idea, Coren told himself. Assuming, of course, that Lenora could actually find a piece of her mind that they didn't already have in their possession.

Suddenly transported against their will, the Princess Lenora and her fiancé, Prince Coren, find themselves in a strange place -- bone-chilling cold and snow outside, garish ...

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Overview

"How dare these authors put us in a book? Believe me, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind."

It was a good idea, Coren told himself. Assuming, of course, that Lenora could actually find a piece of her mind that they didn't already have in their possession.

Suddenly transported against their will, the Princess Lenora and her fiancé, Prince Coren, find themselves in a strange place -- bone-chilling cold and snow outside, garish marketplaces and angry people inside. The inhabitants call it the city of Winnipeg. Lenora and Coren, however, have no idea where it is or why they are there. They can't return home because, yet again, their imaginitive powers have deserted them. The Winnipeggers refuse to believe Lenora and Coren are who they say they are. Strangely enough, though, they have read about Lenora and Coren in a series of fantasy novels by the authors Carol M. and Perry N. But just who created whom, Lenora and Coren wonder. And how will they ever manage to escape this frightening city, worse than their worst nightmare, so that their long-awaited wedding can finally take place?

When Lenora and Coren find themselves trapped in a world created as part of the contest held in preparation for their marriage, they encounter the writers who are responsible for their existence.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Princess Lenora and Prince Coren are back for their fourth adventure of lighthearted chaos and mayhem. Unwittingly transported to a baffling new world, our intrepid duo finds themselves at a "Meeting of the Minds" convention set in a shopping center in modernday Winnipeg. Lenora and Coren are confounded by the mysteries of our modern malls, with the stale air, smelly food, and lack of individuality. With the science fiction convention in full swing, hundreds of participants are dressed to look exactly like Lenora and Coreneveryone that is, except for the lone Mr. Spock. When the authors of the popular Meeting of the Minds books, Carol M. and Perry N., come face to face with the "real" prince and princess, they summon security, and the escape begins. How did Lenora and Coren get into this "worst of all possible worlds," where their unique abilities have no effect? Though the appearance of the authors as characters in their own series is great fun, the glib talk and selfconscious humor make this book the weakest of the quartet. It will not draw new readers to the series, which includes Of Two Minds (Simon and Schuster, 1995/VOYA April 1996), More Minds (1996/VOYA June 1997), and Out of Their Minds (1998/VOYAFebruary 1999). However fans will enjoy the long awaited wedding and promises of more adventures. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Simon & Schuster, Ages 12 to 15, 208p, $17. Reviewer: Marian Rafal
Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this fourth Princess Lenora/Prince Coren adventure, the headstrong, imaginative princess and her shy, telepathic betrothed are stripped of their powers and plunged into an unfamiliar, frozen landscape only to find themselves surrounded by hundreds of teenagers impersonating them. They have landed in a Lenora/Coren convention in the authors' hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, which turns out to be a fictional world created by Lenora's young friend Sayley for a "worst world" contest back in Lenora's homeland of Gepeth. Now the couple must find a way home in time to thwart the plans of Leni and Cori, the misguided doubles Lenora created in More Minds (S & S, 1996). The book ends at the beginning of Lenora and Coren's wedding and the cliff-hanger finale promises a fifth installment to come. While their bewildering situation brings out Lenora's boldness and intelligence and Coren's inner strength, the two do not discover why they are in Winnipeg until almost 90 pages into the book, and readers may be frustrated by this slow unfolding of the plot and the relative lack of action compared to the previous titles. They may also fail to appreciate both the gentle fun the authors poke at their fictional selves and the irony in the humorous descriptions of North American life as seen through the eyes of the otherworldly royal pair. There are so many references to the adventures recounted in the previous books that newcomers may be lost, but Lenora and Coren's fans won't mind that A Meeting of Minds doesn't quite live up to the rest of the series.-Leah J. Sparks, Bowie Public Library, MD Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689819476
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.64 (h) x 0.78 (d)

First Chapter

Chapter 1 Lenora's hands flew to her cheeks. It felt like a thousand ants were biting her face. But it couldn't be ants -- not right in the middle of the freshly cleaned and renovated castle, not all of a sudden out of nowhere as she and Coren walked down a perfectly ordinary hallway in the middle of a perfectly ordinary afternoon. But -- ooch! eech! -- it certainly did feel like ants, or worse. Now that her face was covered they were attacking her hands and arms.

"Coren!" she screamed. "What's happening? What is it? Ow ow ow! Go away, whatever you are! It hurts."

It did hurt, Coren realized. Badly. As he heard Lenora cry out, Coren understood why he was suddenly in such agony -- an agony so great he couldn't even speak, not even enough to say "Ow." His face, his arms, his legs -- every part of him seemed to be under some kind of very painful attack.

Lenora was obviously feeling it, too -- except nothing ever hurt Lenora, and if it did, she'd never admit it. She was certainly admitting it now, and very loudly, too. It had to be something horrible. Yet another disaster, obviously. Coren tried to open his eyes to see what was happening.

He couldn't get them open. Something was pushing against them with too much force. His entire body hurt. And he couldn't catch his breath.

"Coren!" he heard Lenora shout. "The castle -- it's gone! Where are we? Open your eyes, for heaven's sake."

Lenora still had the strength to speak, it seemed -- even to order Coren around. Surprise, surprise.

Well, it had been at least three weeks since anything really and truly horrible had happened -- the longest time he'd made it withoutexperiencing great danger and greater humiliation since he'd first met Lenora not so many months ago. Since then he'd been imprisoned, attacked, embarrassed, insulted, nearly drowned, and had even, for a time, completely disappeared out of existence.

And the result of it all was that he'd fallen deeply in love with Lenora and could not imagine life without her. If the truth be known, in fact, he'd been getting a little bored with how peaceful things had been lately -- not that he'd ever admit that to Lenora.

Well, this was an obvious reminder that being bored wasn't so bad after all. Ouch. He tried desperately to open his eyes. Finally, after much effort, he succeeded, only to discover he was staring at nothing. Nothing but white -- an empty white that nevertheless felt like a blanket of thorns enveloping him.

Quickly closing his eyes against the onslaught, Coren tried to get his bearings. What had happened? just now he and Lenora had been in the hallway, on their way from the exhibit hall in the central part of the castle. And now this.

Coren tried once more to pull his eyes open. No hallway. No castle. Nothing but painful white. He shivered in fear.

Lenora was shivering, too, but not from fear. She was freezing cold. The wind howled and the white stuff that surrounded her remorselessly stung her face and bare arms and legs.

Oh! The white stuff! Of course! She knew what it was!

A while ago, when she'd traveled out into the Gepethian countryside and the weather had gone all haywire, she'd been caught in something called snow. This was it! It was snowing!

She grabbed Coren's arm. "It's snow, Coren. Snow."

Coren had never felt snow before. He didn't really know what she meant, or how it had managed to disappear his home altogether and make his body shake so violently. And whatever it was, he couldn't speak because his lungs seemed to be paralyzed.

Remembering what had happened the last time she'd encountered snow, Lenora knew that she had to act or they would both freeze to death. Still hanging on to Coren, she looked for help.

They seemed to be surrounded by the white stuff, but now that she had got over the shock and was able to gaze into it a bit more steadily, she could see that it was not simply empty white. There were people in it, people so bundled up and covered up that they hardly even looked human anymore. They slogged through the deep drifts that covered the ground, with their bodies bent forward and faces turned downward to ward off the biting wind, completely oblivious of her and Coren standing there just a few feet away from them. Meanwhile, vehicles of various sizes rolled by on what appeared to be a road beside them, their sounds muffled by the roaring wind.

The wind howled so loudly that when Lenora tried to shout at some of the passersby to get their attention, they didn't seem to hear her. They just kept trudging right on by, heads down, to wherever they were going.

Well, then, they had to be going somewhere. Yes, there were buildings nearby -- buildings looming like gray fortresses through the thick snow and raging wind. If she squeezed her eyelids together, she could make out a building not ten feet away from her, just past the row of people.

They'd have to get inside, and soon -- Coren's face, she could see, was turning distinctly blue behind the now purplish freckles that dotted its surface. And he was definitely not going to be able to open his eyes because the snow had settled on his long red eyelashes and, it seemed, turned to ice. His eyes appeared to be permanently shut.

If they moved toward the building, they could follow along the wall until they came to a door. There had to be a door. She grabbed Coren's hand and stepped forward, pulling him after her.

Almost immediately, one of the bundled-up people walked right into her and nearly toppled her to the snow-covered ground.

"Hey!" a male voice snapped from within a fuzzy red mask that covered his face. "Watch where you're going!"

Lenora fumed. The person in the mask hadn't even looked to see if there was someone or something in his path -- and then he had the nerve to tell her to watch out!

She couldn't afford to chase after him, though -- not in these awful circumstances. Now that she was closer to the building, she could tell that there was nothing but windows, filled with bright colors and objects, all along the wall as far as she could see. There didn't seem to be any doorway or any way in at all. Meanwhile, Coren's thin hand in hers felt as if it were made of ice, and it shook so much that her own hand and arm were going up and down uncontrollably also. Or maybe that was just her shivering, too. They needed help. They needed to find a warm place, and fast.

Lenora could see another person approaching. A woman, maybe -- it was hard to tell under all those clothes. Lenora placed herself firmly in the woman's path.

"Please, ma'am, she shouted into the wind as the woman got near. "We need help. We seem to be lost, and -- "

The woman looked up. "I don't know what kind of stunt you're pulling," she screamed over the wind, "but you'd better get inside, fast!" And she waddled off.

Frustrated, Lenora pulled Coren forward, narrowly avoiding a few more bundled bodies, sticking close to the wall of windows in hopes of finding a door. Finally she saw a crowd of people turning toward the wall of the building and then disappearing into it. There must be a door there! Dragging Coren, who seemed to have frozen into an unmoving lump, she managed to make it over to the crowd, which quickly surrounded them and pushed them ahead. Before she even knew it, she and Coren were inside. And it was warm, beautifully warm!

Just in time, too. She was shivering from head to foot, and her hands and feet felt numb. She pulled Coren away from the door into the warmer air.

For a moment he just stood there shivering. Then he put his fingers on his eyelids and began to scrape away the ice that held them together. Finally he opened his eyes and blinked. He stared at Lenora, took a deep gulp of air, and gazed around in total bewilderment.

"Wh-wh-what was that? What happened? And where are we?"

Copyright © 1999 by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2000

    A great fourth

    This book is fourth in a series, and it might be the last one. And that would be fine with me! I loved the series, but this was a perfect ending. Read them in order!

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