Classic novels for my tween

We are fast approaching my favorite part of our homeschooling year — planning for next year’s curriculum.  My son turns 12 this summer and will be starting high school this summer as well. (Yes, that’s a few years early.) Part of the plan for the coming school year will be for my son to read 12 classic novels and write a 2-3 page paper on each one.

We run our homeschool year on a twelve month calendar instead of the traditional 9 month school calendar.   We homeschool from June to June, taking off a week here and there for sanity’s sake.  So, since we have about twelve months to work with, that works out to one novel per month.

I’ve been brainstorming the last few days and trying to come up with a list of novels that my son can choose from.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to hand him a list of 25-30 book titles from which he can choose his twelve novels.  I’m aiming for fairly short novels so no War and Peace this year!  I want to make sure that he still has plenty of time for pleasure reading.  Currently, he’s been working his way through Brian Jacques’ Redwall series although he did take a break to read some Tolkien recently.  I know he plans to read a few Neil Gaiman books soon as well.  Fantasy and science fiction are his favorite genres, but he’ll read from other genres as well.

Here’s the beginning of our list:

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

A Separate Peace – John Knowles

The Good Earth – Pearl Buck

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Animal Farm – George Orwell

I’d love to hear suggestions from other people, homeschoolers or otherwise!