This book opens up when the March Family: Mrs. March (mother) and her four daughters: Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy have to spend Christmas without their father. Their father decided to be a chaplain during the Civil War because he couldn't be drafted. They don't have much money, but that doesn't mean that Christmas won't be about giving.
Jo decides to go to a party on New Year's eve and feels out of place. Jo sneaks away to go be by herself and meets a boy. Jo figures out his name is Laurie and they end up hanging out the whole night. Laurie is a rich boy that lives next door to the March's.
Laurie's grandfather, Mr. Laurence, seems very scary and grumpy. Beth, being her musical self, overhears Mr. Laurence talking to Mrs. March about letting someone come over to play the under used piano. Beth figures out that he is a sweet, friendly old man. Beth finds out that her passion is singing and playing the piano.
Jo is an exceptionally good writer, who loves making stories. Jo brings home the newspaper to show to her sisters and her mother. As they read the article, they all love the story. Beth asks who wrote it, and Jo tells them she did. Everyone is very proud of her and she ends up getting more and more of her stories in the newspaper! Since Jo loves writing, she wrote, "Little Women".
One day, Jo is curious because she can tell Laurie is anxious and hiding something. Meg, the oldest sister, lost her glove at the party during New Year's eve. Laurie found it and kept it. Jo listened to Laurie as he told her that he has feelings for Meg and Laurie thinks it is romantic. Jo on the other hand, hates it because she can't bear the idea of losing her sister. Jo did promise to keep his secret but the secret is very hard for her to contain.
One day, the bell rang and there was a telegram. The telegram was a note from Blank Hospital, in Washington, DC, to Mrs. March about Mr. March. Mr. March was very ill and Mrs. March had to leave at once to see him. The daughters would have to take care of themselves with the help of Hannah, the maid. Mr. March was in critical condition.
Beth cares for a baby who was very sick. The baby had Scarlet Fever, which is deadly and very contagious. Sadly, as Beth held the baby in her lap, she died from the sickness. Unlike Beth, all of her other sisters, except Amy, has had Scarlet Fever, which means they are immune to it. Beth soon catches the sickness and becomes very sick. Amy was sent to their mean great Aunt March's house so she wouldn't catch the virus.
Hannah and Jo were taking care of sick Beth, as usual, and Hannah noticed Beth was sleeping normally. Her fever broke! Even though Beth was no longer sick, she was so weak that Jo had to carry her everywhere. Laurie, taking matters into his own hands, thought Beth wasn't going to make it so he sent a telegram to Mrs. March telling her to come home as soon as possible. Luckily, she wasn't needed in Washington anymore because Mr. March was getting better, but not good enough to come home just yet. Beth was feeling better and Mrs. March was on her way home, everything was going great! Amy, was still at Aunt March's house, and Amy was like her maid everyday. Finally, she could come home!
As the March Family and Laurie celebrated Mr. March's return, Meg and Mr. Brooke went in the other room. Mr. John Brooke exclaimed his love for Meg, but she was far too young to marry him, she was only 17. They were interrupted when Aunt March came to see Mr. March. Aunt March overheard their conversation and said Meg was to marry a rich man with money, for John was poor as well. Meg got mad at Aunt March and defended John by saying wonderful things about him. She then realized that she did love him and decided that she wanted to marry him. The family was very happy for them except Laurie, who loved Meg, and Jo, because she was afraid she was losing her sister. As time went on, Jo and Laurie moved on, still the best of friends.
The March Family was at home still happy about Marmee returning, then Mr. March comes through the door with Mr. Brooke who helped him into the house. Mr. March was so happy to finally be home after a year of departure. The whole March Family was together as Mr. March told each and every daughter something he loves about them.