by Alanna Vagianos)
As any book lover knows, reading provides an ability to escape. Whether it's for a few minutes before bed, on the hour-long bus ride to work or even a full day under the sun -- books and the stories they hold are a driving force for creativity, growth and (almost always) relaxation.
Novels allow us to visit places, time periods and states of mind we never thought possible. Often these stories and their characters change how we see ourselves and put us on a completely new path.
It's no surprise that women are big readers, contributing to 64 percent of book sales. With these statistics in mind (and our own healthy addiction to reading), we asked the HuffPost editors and our Facebook audience which books shaped the way they thought about themselves as young women. And while we couldn't fit all of the amazing books on this list, we've rounded up 18 that have made life-changing impressions on our community.
In the name of written words that have left a permanent mark on us, here are 18 books that changed the way many young women felt about themselves: