Told from the first person point of view, Lisa's Diary is the record of a young girl's 5-day runaway experience. The diary's author describes her life as difficult, mainly because of her strained relationship with her mother. Lisa travels by train from her home in Indianapolis to an unknown destination not too far from her home. During her runaway experience, she discovers what it means to be hungry, tired, homeless, and dirty, and finally a police officer takes her to a police station and then to a shelter called Breakthrough. A shelter worker tells her to call the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) (also the publisher of this diary) in order to receive a free ticket back to her home. She does call the hotline, the volunteer on the other line counsels her and calls her mother, and Lisa takes a bus home, where she reunites with her mother and younger sister.