Amber is the oldest child in the Holt family ; followed by her brother Drew. Her parents divorced sometime during her childhood, with her father having an inconsistent presence in her life, causing Amber to become extremely rebellious and dismissive towards her mother, Sarah. Up until the beginning of the show, Amber lived with her mother and brother in Fresno, California. They eventually moved in with Amber's grandparents, Zeek and Camille, in Berkeley. Amber begins shaping up and starts trying harder in school and staying out of trouble. Amber is a strong considering young woman who faces many challenges through the seasons
After a failed attempt to stay in Fresno by moving in with her boyfriend, Damian, Amber reluctantly moves into her grandparents' house. She eventually becomes close to her cousin, Haddie Braverman.
Amber develops feelings for one her teachers, Mark Cyr. When she learns her mother is dating him, she doesn't take her SATs and calls Damian to come. When her mother and grandfather find out Damian is in town, they are not happy. Amber later realizes Damian is not the guy for her and breaks up with him.
Amber advises Haddie to break up with her boyfriend, Steve, because he is pressuring her to have sex. Amber later develops feelings for Steve after they share a connection and he expresses remorse for how he treated Haddie. She confesses to Haddie and apologizes, but they get into a major fight because of it that leads to Haddie's friends bullying Amber at school. The situation causes tension among Amber and Haddie's families, leading Amber to run away. When she calls her mother to pick her up, Haddie comes and the two reconcile.
Amber becomes friends with Kelsey, whose parents are wealthy and laid-back. Sarah becomes jealous of the amount of time Amber is spending at Kelsey's house and misses her. She brings them to a club to hear a band, which Amber is initially reluctant to attend. Later, Amber begrudgingly thanks her mother for a good time, to the delight of Sarah.
Amber is the one who helped Haddie when Haddie was not allowed to meet her boyfriend, Alex. She taught Haddie the trick to keep texting Alex without her parents' knowing, by changing the contact name Alex into 'Chloe'. Amber develops a common brother-sister relationship with Drew. She usually acts like any big sister would do to an obnoxious younger brother, but she could be very protective and supportive if necessary. Amber often gives relationship advice to Drew, such as when he didn't know how to act on a date or kiss a girl.
Amber and Drew's father, Seth, returns to town. Amber hasn't forgiven him and is dismissive and rude to him while Drew is thrilled to have his father back.
After she isn't accepted to the University of California, Berkeley, she starts to act out again by smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. She quits her job at Julia's firm. one night while she is in a car with a friend they get T-boned on Ambers side and she almost dies. Sarah is afraid she didn't learn anything from the accident. Zeek takes Amber to the junkyard to look at the car she was in and sets her straight. At Sarah's premier Amber apologizes to Drew and her mother for putting them through that and for being stupid.
Amber decides to move out of her grandparents' house and get her own apartment in order to feel more independent. She works as a barista at a coffee shop, but feels that she is not making enough money. Her aunt, Kristina Braverman, helps her get a job, working for a young local politician, Bob Little. Soon, she finds herself in an awkward situation when she develops feelings for him. Amber ultimately decides that she needs to focus on her future and not her love life. Amber gets to understand Max by helping him apologize to Jebbar. Amber helps her mom by letting her dad stay at her place while he recovers after rehab. Sarah is conflicted with her feelings for Seth and almost breaks up with Mark but Amber tells her dad to leave and not ruin things for her mom.
Amber works with Crosby Braverman and Adam Braverman at "The Luncheonette". She is the first family member to learn about Kristina's cancer, and tries to help her uncle by taking more responsibilities at work. She starts connecting with Ryan York, a young veteran who has just come back from Afghanistan, but is warned by her grandfather that he may be dealing with serious issues.
Amber and Ryan are now engaged. She continues working at the Luncheonette with the band "Ashes of Rome". After Ashes of Rome picks Amber to do vocals' for their song "I Should Have Taken You Home", she and the band go to a bar and drink heavily. When Ryan shows up to pick her up she is talking to Zach, a band member. Ryan gets jealous and beats up the guy. He reenlists, and they break up. She copes by letting her brother Drew stay with her while he goes through his own heartbreak.
At the end of the season, Ryan comes back in Amber's life when he got in a car accident while drunk. He is medically discharged from the army. They say that although they never stopped loving each other, they both need a fresh start and move on. Ryan agrees to move to Wyoming with his mom. Amber goes to the store to buy a pregnancy test. The test comes out positive, and Amber is terrified by the pregnancy.
Amber first tells Haddie she's pregnant who convinces her to tell her mother that she's pregnant, who doesn't respond well to the news. But then Sarah comes around and is happy for her daughter. Amber tells Ryan she's pregnant who is very excited but doesn't yet have his life on track. Amber is tempted to stay but ultimately realizes she needs to start taking care of herself and her baby. Amber helps Ruby, Hank's daughter, realise she needs to stop acting out towards her father, she explains that her father doesn't even try to get a relationship with her and tells her she was worse at Ruby's age than she is. In the flash-forward, Amber is shown to be married to Peter and raising a blended family which includes Annabelle (Peter's child - Amber's stepdaughter) and Zeek (Amber's son with Ryan). Amber is shown having dinner with her husband Peter as well as Hank, Sarah, Drew, and Ruby. Ryan shows up at the door with Zeek and they welcome him in as friends.