And I'm inclined to believe that middle grade readers read mostly for the odyssey. They read for the journey, to find out what happens in the end. No scientific study (or study of any kind) do I have to back up my belief, but the odyssey seems to keep readers reading in middle grade. They want to live the journey with the characters. They want to be on the quest with them.
When I read middle grade (I read this way when I was a kid too), I become the characters and actually live the odyssey with them. Do you read this way? Did you read this way as a kid? Do kids today read like that? My own two kids do. I hear them talking about books as if they personally joined the journey, as if they were right there on the quest with the characters. I think this personal joining in the odyssey is what causes us to like or not like characters, like or not like a plot, and even like or not like ending of a book. What do you think?