Amber Appleton (Auli'i Cravalho) is an upbeat girl who dreams of going to Carnegie Mellon for university. She's worked hard her entire life to get there and balances school, work, and drama club. She teaches English as a second language to immigrants, using songs to help them. She raises funds for the school when something is needed. She even finds time to visit her favorite resident (Carol Burnett) at the retirement community where she's a volunteer.
But Amber's home life is far from perfect. Amber and her mom (Justina Machado) have nowhere to live. Thanks to her mom's part-time job as a school bus driver, two have access to the bus and spend every night secretly sleeping in the back of it in a parking lot filled with school buses. Amber finally has a chance at achieving her dreams when she's asked to audition for Carnegie Mellon, but when tragedy strikes, she has a hard time learning how to finally depend on her friends and classmates after years of having them depend on her.
Based on Matthew Quick's novel Sorta Like a Rock Star.