In the midst of war, Zlata struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy by not giving in to despair. Prior to the conflict, Zlata enjoyed going on vacations and practicing the piano, and she was about to attend the fifth grade. Although there are hints of a coming war, Zlata believes that it won't affect her peaceful life. This is proven to be false once violence and gunshots arrive in her native Sarajevo.
With casualties and deprivation surrounding her, Zlata wrote down her thoughts and feelings in her diary. She expresses her frustrations about war and questions if it will ever end. But what keeps Zlata grounded is her family. Even though the war caused some of her friends to either flee or die, it's her closeness to her family that kept hope alive for her.