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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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Your Science Update

In Dr. Zaradic’s eighth grade science classes, students have been writing weekly blog posts on topics that interest them. The Phoenix Inquirer, in collaboration with Dr. Z., selects a handful of these to feature on our website. We will continue this regular feature as more exceptional blog entries are written so that student learning can benefit, and be enjoyed by, the entire community.   “Need A Limb? Here’s A New One” by Evan Paszamant Imagine if you could replace old limbs and other body parts in your body with new ones? While the thought of that might seem fake, scientists have found a way to do it. In a hospital in north London, scientists are growing limbs and not from the ground! They are growing them using stem cells and a cake-like material. So far they have been able to create tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes. Currently, they are beginning to create customized…



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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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Your Science Update

In Dr. Zaradic’s eighth grade science classes, students have been writing weekly blog posts on topics that interest them. The Phoenix Inquirer, in collaboration with Dr. Z., selected a handful of these to feature on our website. We hope to continue this practice as more exceptional blog entries are written so that student learning can benefit, and be enjoyed by, the entire community.   Chimps And Medicine by James Meyers I read about how some chimpanzees have been using plants to treat parasetic infections. Michael Huffman was watching some chimps in East Africa. He saw a mother chimp on a bed of leaves and sticks while the son climbed dangerously high. She was too sick to call him, so she ignored him. Later, she was able to get up and went over to a bush and removed some branches. Huffman was watching and saw that the chimp chewed on the…


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Profile: Kristen Johnson, Class of 2019

During the months of December and January, The Phoenix Inquirer hosted a Middle School-wide photography contest. Students were asked to submit original photos and a short caption explaining their photo (or photos) to the staff of The Phoenix Inquirer. Beginning on January 15, a team of photo editors evaluated all of the entries to choose the first, second, third, and fourth place winners. Then, the editors announced the top four winners in an assembly soon after. In this article, an interviewer talked to the first place photographer, Kristen Johnson, to get all the details on where, when, and how she took her winning photo. Kristen said she took the photo of a Tufted Titmouse through the window of her house, where she could see she the birds in their bird feeders and bird baths. She told us that she “started taking pictures of the birds that came to the bird feeders…


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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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Who Is Mrs. Petrarca?

Two reporters from The Phoenix Inquirer recently sent a poll to all Middle School students about Mrs Petrarca. The staff is happy to announce that 77 responses were received from students.   In response to the first question, 61% of students responded that Italian is Mrs. Petrarca’s favorite type of food. For the next question, 64% of students said that her favorite part of working at FCS is interacting with the children. In response to the third question, 33% of students said that gold was her favorite color. On the fourth question, a surprising 43% of students answered that Mrs. Petrarca has not been planning on moving. For the next question, 52% of students responded that she has been working at FCS for 16 years. In response to the sixth question, 46% of students thought that Mrs. Petrarca has a cat.


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One Step Away and The Phoenix Inquirer

One Step Away is an organization that raises awareness of the significant problem of homelessness in the Philadelphia area. One Step Away publishes a newspaper written by homeless individuals; members of this population buy copies of the paper for $0.25 each. In order to make a living, they sell One Step Away for $1.00 per copy on the streets of downtown Philadelphia. According to One Step Away’s website, “One Step Away has a twofold purpose: One, to offer those without shelter meaningful income opportunities and personal growth, and, two, to backlight the scourge of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in the Philadelphia area to bring forward solutions and changes so that everyone enjoys the shelter they deserve.” The Phoenix Inquirer staff decided to partner with One Step Away to raise money for the organization and to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in our area. On January 17, the staff held…


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