trick question. it doesn't.
this is a topic that i've been seeing lots of discussions over. i originally got the idea for this post when i read jamie @ perpetualpageturner's post on reading harry potter for the first time at 30. it made me realize one thing: it doesn't matter how old you are when you read a book for the first time, as long as your reading experience was phenomenal.
as for me, i got into harry potter a lot later than my friends. i always remember how people used to talk about it all the time in elementary school, and i didn't know a thing about it. i got a lot of "YOU'VE NEVER SEEN OR READ HARRY POTTER???" during those years. so, i finally picked up the books and watched the movies shortly after i turned fifteen. and that was the moment i knew my life and reading experience had changed. SEE WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME?!
personally i think that harry potter is a magical, beautiful read for any age. every reader can easily be swept up into the wizarding world and experience harry's journeys with him. buying a wand and school supplies from diagon alley, going to hogwarts, massive feasts, magical classes, hogsmeade trips, butterbeer, quidditch matches, spending time with family and friends, and fighting off lord voldemort (okay, maybe not that last part).
in many of the books out today, especially in fantasy, there are lots of in-depth concepts that can often be hard to comprehend. magic, kingdoms, mythical creatures, ancient lands, battles, armies, and much more are incorporated into fantasy books. guess what? there is such thing as middle grade fantasy for younger readers. but here is my question: even if they're at a difficult reading level, why does that determine the age group of people who can read the book?
oh, another quick point to bring up: i've never read percy jackson. i know lots of people who read this at a young age, as they did harry potter. and what, might you ask, did i read at age 11/12? the hunger games, divergent, and the fault in our stars (and any john green book tbh). but guess what? i understood them perfectly fine, just as well as any teen or adult could have. so why do parents tell their children, "you're not old enough to read that" when they really want to? why take that away from them?
it is understandable that some parents don't want their children reading "mature content" or "gory action scenes." i know my parents were hesitant to let me watch the hunger games movies, and it took a lot of begging to persuade them. in the end, the hunger games books were what sparked my love for dystopian. they probably even sparked my love for reading itself.
all in all, i guess i wrote this post because i don't like when people say "isn't that a middle grade? why are you reading that? you're a teenager." i got this a lot while reading harry potter. my friends couldn't believe i became obsessed, because sophia you're sixteen! so what? LET ME LOVE MY HARRY POTTER.
i hope this post made sense. sorry it was so short and ramble-y, i just felt like i needed to get that out. thanks for reading! what is a book you absolutely love that is probably considered "middle grade" and when did you read it? for me: harry potter, age 15 :)