I like JBJ’s suggestion of looking closely at smaller passages. During my undergrad, one of our professors did this with us, and it often spun off into good discussions. He picked out a pivotal scene–often just one or two paragraphs long–read it out loud, and then asked us to discuss it. We talked about the language, writing style, narrative structure of the paragraphs, or we discussed why this particular moment was important for the novel (so far as we’d read it).

The good thing about this method is that students have something quite specific to hold on to. They can just take a particular sentence apart if they find something in it, without having to worry about the rest of the book.