Opinions

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“Hate List,” “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” and “Paper Towns”

“Catherine and Claudia’s Top Spring Reads” will be a recurring feature in the final months of the 2013-2014 school year. If you’re looking for your next independent reading book for Language Arts or are in need of a good read for summer, look no further! Summaries and ratings of three books will be published every two weeks. Hate List by Jennifer Brown is about a high school junior named Valerie Leftman. On May 2nd, 2009, Valerie’s boyfriend, Nick Levil, open fires on their high school because of a “hate list” they made containing kids from school. Valerie spends the rest of the book  trying to convince herself, and everyone else, that what happened was not her fault. She also tries to find ways to make amends with the families of the victims. Stars: 9.2/10 Rating: R It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is about a 15-year-old named…


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“Okay? Okay.”

Book Review by Claudia McLendon The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl named Hazel Grace, 16, who has been battling thyroid cancer since age 13. Only through the use of  experimental medicine is she still alive. Hazel meets a guy named Augustus at a cancer support group, and Hazel and Augustus continue to see each other at the support group. Brought together by his reckless driving and her love for books, the two become good friends. When they go to Amsterdam to meet the author of Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, they have some difficulties. However, once the plots start to get better, the story takes an unexpected turn. This fast-paced, heart-wrenching, tear-producing, laughter-inducing book was one of the funniest and most real love stories I have ever read. It is filled with suspense and excitement. YOU NEED TO READ IT! Okay? Okay. Trailer Review by Catherine…


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Console Wars

PS4 vs. Xbox One: The Introduction Sony and Microsoft released their new systems, PlayStation4 and Xbox One, at around the same time in November. Sony and Microsoft are trying to outsell each other by making better games, better softwares and better designs. The Xbox One starts at $500 including Kinect whereas the PS4 starts at $400. Xbox One and PS4 are still gaming consoles but Xbox took a turn to multimedia capabilities, while PS4 still focuses only on gaming. Both consoles are extraordinary, so choosing the one that is right for you just depends on what you value. PS4 vs. Xbox One: The Console The PS4 has a nice, sleek black design which can be propped vertically or horizontally. The PS4 also comes with a Blu-ray player so the owner can watch Blu-ray discs. Additionally, it has two USB ports in the front for headphones or charging stations. The PS4…


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“The Lord of Opium”: A Letdown

The Lord of Opium, published in 2013, is a science-fiction sequel to Nancy Farmer’s previous award-winning novel, The House of Scorpion. The House of Scorpion was published in 2002 and connects to today’s world by touching upon issues of drugs, money, and class. This story is set in a society in which drug lords rule countries, and mindless slaves called “eejits” work the drug fields. Eejits do not have minds of their own and do the sole bidding of their masters. These people were originally injected with a chemical fluid that converts them to this state. Matteo Alacran, the clone of drug lord El Patron, became the Lord of Opium when El Patron died in The House of Scorpion. Matteo must now gain the respect of the surrounding countries and prevent them from attacking his home. Matteo embarks on a journey throughout the land of opium to find the cure…


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Divergent: The Book and the Movie

All of us Divergent fans are extremely excited for the release of its movie. Divergent, by Veronica Roth, was definitely one of the best books I have ever read. There are two sequels: Insurgent and Allegiant. I think that everybody should read Divergent. It is filled with adventure, action and suspense.  Once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down, even after you finish. You will fall in love with all the characters and want to reread it again and again. The book is very well-written. The series is about a girl named Tris in a dystopian version of Chicago where the citizens are separated by factions. There are five factions: Abnegation, the selfless; Candor, the honest; Dauntless, the brave; Erudite, the smart; and Amity, the peaceful.  When a citizens turns 16, they must choose a faction in which they will spend the rest of their…


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2014 Movie Previews

In the New Year, there are many new books, video games, and other media that we’ve been waiting for but, of course, there will also be new movies. I’m going to discuss my opinions on five trailers and rumors of upcoming movies. I’ll start with what the one that does not impress me too much and move on to the movie I look forward to the most. Don’t worry: since these movies have not come out yet, there won’t be any spoilers included! If you are interested in learning more about these movies, I included links for trailers for and footage of the movies. Movie #5: Star Wars Episode VII In case anyone doesn’t know, I am a huge Star Wars fan! Though when I heard that Disney bought Lucasarts, I was depressed. However, at least they might be making a seventh movie to the series. Now that Disney has announced that…


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Save Temple University Men’s Gymnastics

Do you know what happened at Temple University recently? The Temple Athletics Program is eliminating seven sports: baseball, softball, men’s rowing, women’s rowing, men’s gymnastics and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. I go to Temple for gymnastics and my coach, Alex Tighe, just finished his final year there. Alex said at my last gymnastics meet, “On Friday, the gymnasts got the news that their program had been cut, and to see them go into the gym with this news is the most heartbreaking thing ever.” Misha, one of Temple’s gymnasts, is in his first year at the school. Imagine how he feels about his program being cut. Many students are too far into their programs to switch to another school, so their lives are gravely affected. My brother was a potential recruit for the gymnastics program and, if it is cut, there will only be fifteen schools in…


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Does Newspaper Serve?

At Friends’ Central Middle School, there has been some question as to whether Newspaper should be a club, a specials class or an after-school activity instead of a Service group.  A look at our mission statement offers readers a clear idea of why we are here: to serve the community. The Phoenix Inquirer, a source of information and entertainment available to all students, faculty and community members, is a service to the school. While many Service groups strive to improve the community by spending time with disabled or older people, cleaning up the nearby stream, or organizing in the Admissions Department, The Phoenix Inquirer is published to report on recent events and relevant issues in the Middle School and beyond.  Like students in Service-Thru-Art and Students of Culture, we are working hard to make FCS an interesting and educated community.  The Phoenix Inquirer staff spends every minute of our meetings…


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“The Book Thief”: Stealing Hearts and Minds

This is the inaugural post in The Turn of the Page, a regular column in which eighth grader Anjali Gupta reviews books for the Middle School community. Markus Zusak astonishes readers with this brilliantly plotted story set in Nazi Germany. The Book Thief is narrated by Death, a sympathetic, overworked being that tirelessly collects souls from bodies. Liesel Meminger, a simple orphan adopted by loving foster parents, is growing up in the dilapidated town of Molching. She is surrounded by signs of struggle, war, and–at times–hope. When her family hides a Jewish fugitive named Max, Liesel forms an unbreakable bond with the damaged young man and she and Max become close friends. After transforming the horrible Mein Kampf into a blank book, Max writes the story of his life in it,  forging a magnificent connection with Liesel in the process. Liesel also becomes friends with her next door neighbor, Rudy Steiner, a…


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