Ana Juric, 10, grew up in Zagreb in the summer of 1991 and is a carefree butch; she runs through the streets with her best friend, Luka, helping to take care of her little sister, Rahela, and idolizing her father.
But when civil war breaks out in Yugoslavia, football matches and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire drills and air strikes.
The brutal ethnic cleansing of Croatians and Bosnians tragically changes the life of Ana, who is lost in a world of genocide and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to the United States becomes her only chance of survival.
Ten years later, she returns to Croatia, a young woman struggling to belong to either country, forced to face the trauma of her past and rediscover the place that was once her home.
Girl At War is a haunting and compelling debut by a brilliant young writer, rooted in historical events and personal experiences.
Sara has lived in the United States and Croatia, and her novel bears witness to the disturbing stories of her family and friends who lived through the height of the conflict, and reflects her own attempts to come to terms with her relationship with Croatia and its history.
It is an extraordinary achievement for a novelist of any age, and far less than 26 years old.