Living Reference Work Entry

Identities and Subjectivities

Volume 4 of the series Geographies of Children and Young People pp 1-23

Date: Latest Version

Place and Identity in Young Adult Fiction

  • Erin SpringAffiliated withInstitute for Child and Youth Studies, University of Lethbridge Email author 


This chapter explores the interconnections between young adult fiction and young adult readers’ constructions of place and place-identity within and beyond the text. It draws on data from a qualitative case study, where discussion groups, semi-structured interviews, and the creation of place journals were used to interpret some of the ways in which ten 16- and 17-year-old readers, in two diverse Canadian communities (rural/urban), respond to how place and place-identity are construed within two young adult fiction texts. It questions how and if reading these place-based texts impels these readers to reflect on place within their own lives. A multidisciplinary theoretical framework informs analysis, including geography theory, ecocriticism, and reader response criticism. Through discourse analysis, it argues that these young adult participants construe place to be a multidimensional concept that is constantly changing. It shares how these young adults constructed and reconstructed representations of their emerging identities, commenting on the influence of various factors including family, culture, environment, and personal hobbies. In doing so, this chapter offers a critical description of the moment in time when these texts and these readers met as part of a reading transaction, within a particular time and space.


Adolescent Blink Caution Changing perceptions of place Emerging adult Empirical reflections Changing perceptions of place Personal reflection of identity, young adults Place-related identities, children Young adults, role of feet Heterogeneity Literary places Moon Over Manifest Place-identity construction Power dynamics Real landscapes Scaffolding Scaffolding mirrors Theorizing place Writing, Reading, and Place project (wRePlace) Young adult fiction