Louisa May Alcott
Eight Cousins is the first book in a two-part series that stands alone from the Little Women/Little Men series of books. This book introduces Rose, who goes to live with her uncle and the rest of her extended family, including her eight male cousins. She grows up with them and gradually becomes friends with the boys and to learn responsibility and maturity and other virtues that books for girls from Alcott's time try to instill.
As in Little Men, the boys have a variety of adventures that they take Rose along on. The different boys embody different characteristics and the reader gets to see the advantages and disadvantages of each one. None of the boys are bad - they are all different and the implications of these differences are the focus rather than singling one out as superior to the others. Rose, though, does end up having her preferences.
All in all, it is a pleasant book that I enjoyed reading when I was young and wouldn't mind re-reading. It's main virtue for me, though, is that is sets the stage for the sequel, Rose in Bloom, which is one of my favorite books from when I was young. I still give Eight Cousins a '+', though.
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