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I read this book many years ago, it has been plaguing me for like 12+ years.

It was definitely about a group of kids on a weird planet - for sure a girl and a boy. They definitely had some sort of magic stone or gemstone, and maybe they were trying to get more.

The only part I specifically remember is them encountering a centaur-like creature, and him reading their minds and being offended maybe.

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    Hi there. Please see if these guidelines on what to include in story-id questions trigger any more memories you could edit in. – Jenayah Nov 3 '20 at 8:54
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    I wonder if it might be "A Wrinkle in Time". It has a group of kids on a planet of centaurs, no magic stones though. – Clara Diaz Sanchez Nov 3 '20 at 10:37
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    Or maybe one of the Xanth novels? I seem to remember that the Centaurs were easily offended but I can't remember a mind reading centaur only a Centaur that could tell others magical ability (some of which were offensive or scatalogical in nature). – JavaMikeMoore Nov 3 '20 at 14:20
  • @ClaraDiazSanchez - good thought, but I looked in "A Wrinkle In Time" -- they do not communicate with the centaur like creatures. They hear them singing, and Mrs. Whatsit (who took the form of one of the creatures) interprets the song to them, but the only centaur they actually communicate with is Mrs. Whatsit in centaur form, as far as I can tell. – Basya Jun 28 at 18:51
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Though the details are sparse, could you be thinking of one of the books from the Animorphs series?

It was definitely about a group of kids...

The main series focuses on a group of human children/teens with powers that allow them to "morph" (transform) into animals (hence Ani-morph) fighting an evil race of aliens called the Yeerk, which are essentially mind-controlling slug creatures.

The only part I specifically remember is them encountering a centaur-like creature, and him reading their minds and being offended maybe?

There are also good aliens called Andalites. They are blue centaur-like creatures that can communicate via "thought-speak". When the teens first meet the Andalite character Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill (or his nickname "Ax"), he is shocked that they were given the morphing power by another Andalite because it is forbidden by law in Andalite society to give advanced technology to other species.

They definitely had some sort of magic stone or gemstone, and maybe they were trying to get more?

The morphing power is granted by an Andalite technology called the "Escafil device", a small blue cube. It is thought to be destroyed at one point in the series, though the main characters are able to recover it later.

...on a weird planet...

There are many books in the Animorphs series (over 50), and it's been a long time since I read them, but it is entirely possible they visit an alien planet at one point.

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    I can confirm that other planets are definitely depicted in some of the books, as there are larger novels focusing on alien characters outside of the primary series. Can’t remember if the protagonists themselves ever got to any, though. Anyway, Elfangor and Visser III are also thought-speak-using centaurs, and much of the Animorphs’ behavior likely offended Visser III at least (since he was the primary antagonist). – KRyan Nov 4 '20 at 15:15
  • @KRyan I think you are right. I also can't remember the main characters leaving earth (at least in the main series of books), but there are definitely other books in spinoff series that take place on alien worlds. I thought that maybe Ax being upset about the humans receiving the morphing power might be the "offense" referred to by the OP. – ConjureFlyingFoxes Nov 4 '20 at 15:38
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This could be the Diadem series by John Peel (not the famous DJ). This specifically sounds like Book 2, the Book of Signs. This is the cover I remember for it:

Book cover, word "Diadem" top centre in arcane letters. Top left, an ethereal sorceress's face; below her, a goblin. Top right, an orange moon; below it, a green serpent. Centre: a redheaded warrior woman in black armour with a red cloak, posing with a two-handed sword. Subtitle on the bottom left: "Witness the Next Dimension. Author name on bottom right: John Peel.

Matching points:

  • Group of kids on a weird planet: the series focuses on a trio of magically-talented teenagers who travel together along the Diadem (a web of worlds) future with various levels of fantasy connection. This book in particular focuses on the world of Rawn, which has a medium level of magic and is populated by goblins, centaurs, trolls, and a dragonlike creature.
  • for sure a girl and a boy: The series stars three main characters: Score, a New York street rat; Pixel, a gamer from a futuristic Matrix-world; and Helaine, a nobleman's daughter who disguises herself as a boy in order to fight.
  • They definitely had some sort of magic stone or gemstone, and maybe they were trying to get more?: Each of the trio has a special gemstone that enhances a key part of their magic; they're discovered in the beginning of this book. Score has an emerald that aids him in transmutation, Helaine has a sapphire that improves her telekinesis, and Pixel has a ruby that allows him to find things. They cause strange speech effects when used; the ruby causes Pixel's words to be reversed, the sapphire removes all vowels from Helaine's speech, and the emerald reverses the syllables in Score's words. In the second half of the book, they venture into a dragon's hoard to find more of them and further augment their powers.
  • The only part I specifically remember is them encountering a centaur-like creature, and him reading their minds and being offended maybe?: The trio do encounter a herd of centaurs. I can't find or recall any mention of mind reading, but the centaurs do watch them as they overcome their challenges and have differing opinions on them and what they should do. One of the leaders, a warrior named Rothar, considers them to be nothing but trouble, but Helaine impresses him with her spirit and honour.
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The book might be M. C. A. Hogarth's Mindtouch, but it does not match the description perfectly. According to the description and reviews on Goodreads,

  • one of the characters is a centaur-like character (or centauroid) named Vasiht’h,
  • the characters are young and at a university called Seersana University (so not "kids" any more),
  • the university is known for its xenopsychology program and the story involves mind-to-mind communication or telepathy,
  • the story is set in a universe with many alien species,
  • but the reviews don't mention magic stones or gemstones,
  • and the book was published in 2013, i.e. less than 12 years ago.
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Perhaps it is David Gemmell's Dark Prince.

It does not match exactly but does have some similarities.

  • It focuses on Alexander the Great as a boy who travels to a parallel universe.
  • In this parallel universe he has dealings with centaurs. I believe there is some interactions of mind reading/mind control.
  • David Gemmell's books have a very common theme that involves magic stones called the Sipstrassi Stones.
  • Published in 1991
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I propose Crystal Mask by Katherine Roberts, published 2001.

The linked Wikipedia article has a pretty detailed synopsis. Unfortunately, I do not have my copy with me. But the broad strokes of your question are there:

  • It was definitely about a group of kids on a weird planet - for sure a girl and a boy. The whole series is set in a world where some people basically have magical powers through singing. The world's "feel" is similar to Le Guin's Earthsea. The main protagonists of this installment is a girl--Shaiala, raised by centaurs--and a boy--Renn, a Singer. Throughout the course of this story they end up in a group of kids who are being trafficked to quarry...

  • They definitely had some sort of magic stone or gemstone, and maybe they were trying to get more. ...Khiz crystal! This book mentions three stones that work with the magic system of the world. Khiz crystal is evil with adverse effects to people; the antagonist, Frazhin, built his castle with it and is using the children and the centaurs to gather more. In contrast, the Singers' stronghold is made of Bluestone, basically the antithesis to the Khiz; Renn and Shaiala are aided by the magical properties of Bluestone multiple times. There is also the Herdstone, for the centaurs, but it features in a minor role.

  • The only part I specifically remember is them encountering a centaur-like creature, and him reading their minds and being offended maybe? Admittedly the shakiest bit in my suggestion. As I already pointed out, this world has centaurs but they are your standard wise-and-proud lot. And your recollection is not distinct enough too. I'm sure at least one interaction between the humans and the centaurs in this story can be interpreted as the centaurs mind reading and/or being offended. The distinct plot points of this story regarding centaurs are:

    • Centaurs (and Half-Creatures in general) have their own language. Shaiala, being raised by a herd, cannot speak human. Renn, by good fortune, has the gift to understand Half-Creatures.
    • Centaurs are particularly proud of their kicks, which Shaiala has learned from them.
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The Andalite Chronicles (1997) by Katherine A. Applegate was, I think, an offshoot of the Animorph franchise that I read as a kid.

His name is Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul.

An Andalite war-prince. The one who gave five young humans the ability to morph into any animal they touch. They are still out there, fighting an evil so powerful there isn't a moment that goes by when they can actually feel safe. Their story continues.

But this is how it all began.

The story that came before Animorphs . . .

The only thing I could remember was the blue centaurs that talked through their minds and ate through their hooves. I don't know if it ticks the rest of your boxes but I think this is the right book.

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