Eight Cousins (1875) is a happy story about a sad girl, thirteen-year-old Rose Campbell. Orphaned and weak, Rose is on the verge of tears in the book's first glimpse. She is a "low-spirited butterfly," as author Louisa May Alcott describes her. But Rose has big surprises coming -- for one, the appearance of her seven boy cousins of "all ages, all sizes." Another is the supposed boy-hater's discovery of how much she likes this "flock of tall lads," and even their bagpipes. The arrival of Rose's unconventional guardian, Uncle Alec, sets the stage for a summer of fun and learning. Alcott hides the book's lessons is a whirl of big-family commotion, but she is ever the moralist. Eight Cousins teaches Rose (and Alcott's readers) to eat right, exercise, and be ready to sacrifice for the sake of friendship. Rose's birthday signals a new beginning for the once-pensive little girl -- and one more surprise: that Rose might feel more than friendship for one boy in particular. Rose in Bloom is Alcott's sequel to Eight Cousins.