I've got two MG manuscripts with an agent, one of which has been revised with the help of some perceptive beta readers, the second through the guidance of the agent. One of the great benefits of having experienced, independent readers is their noting of flagging narrative drive, unnecessary backstory, and extra-topical chapters. One litmus test is to ask whether the passage in question ups the tension or gets the story closer to its climax. If the chapter can be eliminated without throwing the narrative into disarray, it probably should go. The agent edits I received were focused on upping the stakes and layering in more levels of tension.
I've just begun Printz award winner An Na's Wait for Me, and I was immediately struck by the layers of complication she quickly drops on her MC, Nina. She has an overbearing mother, an ailing father, a young and vulnerable sister with a hearing disability who relies on her, an ex-boyfriend whose advances she distains even as he holds enormous leverage over her, a complex network of lies about her grades and high school achievements, and a scheme which involves embezzling from her family's drycleaning business for reasons which are suggested to be vital, but remain a mystery to the reader. And the love interest hasn't even been introduced yet!
This is a wonderful example of the kind of layering the agent was requesting be added to my character's central dilemma.