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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

The café lights have dimmed for the night. A flicker of candlelight meets your awareness and the smell of old, golden brown paper touches your senses. Outside, the weather is dreary and dark, but that doesn’t matter now. You are tied up in the story and you can’t let go yet. The sofa you are sitting on is soft and warm. It embraces you with comfort and safety. You linger on the words written on the page a second longer, then bow your head lower until you bury your nose into the book.

As a love letter to my fellowbook worms, STraighten your back tall and proud as I countdown the most life changing and empowering novels that I have ever read.

7. The Truth Will Set You Free, but First It Will Piss You Off

By Gloria Steinem

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Gloria, a famous women’s rights activist of the 70’s, beautifully captures her most powerful quotes, advice, and lessons learned in the political agenda of being a woman. She explains how to break these barriers by radically loving yourself, respecting your own goals, and building community in chaotic times.

6. The House on Mango Street

By Sandra Cisneros

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Sandra Cisneros writes as though she is the main character. The story of Esperanza, a Chicana girl, who moves to a rough neighborhood and experiences the pains of puberty, grief, poverty, sexual assault, and womanhood. Sandra touches on all the hot topics circulating in America today and creates community, chapter by chapter.

5. The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls

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In Jeannette Walls’ autobiography, she highlights her struggles as a gypsy-like family and where she belonged in the world as a result. Her colorful writing shows every women’s struggle with their mother, but also an appreciation for her. Jeanette redefines what a successful family actually means and the importance of being spontaneous, joyful humans at every bump in the road.

4. Six of Crows

By Leigh Bardugo

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You may know Leigh’s work better from the Netflix series Shadow and Bone. Both series play off the magical world of sorcerers— one very powerful called the Sun Summoner. She is the key to everything, the light that will defeat the Darkling. In Six of Crows, you get an inside look at the masterminds behind the entire operation— The Crew. The plot thickens as the bond between The Crew grows romantically and promises are sealed in blood.

3. The Beauty Myth

By Naomi Wolf

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Published in 1990, this novel has lead women into battle for equal rights, improved self-esteem, and an understanding that the game was always rigged against us.

2. Becoming

By Michelle Obama

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The elegant Michelle Obama shows a vulnerable tongue in her novel, Becoming. Also a documentary on Netflix, Michelle writes an anthem for women to unite and see each other beyond our masks.

1. Untamed

By Glennon Doyle

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At #1 is UNTAMED by Glennon Doyle. If the cover isn’t enough to convince you, hopefully I can persuade you. This novel will unf**k your mind from top to bottom. She uses wildlife to express how caged up all women are, and by extent, all men. Not only does Glennon mention ways to overcome these hurtles, she shows you firsthand how she made countless mistakes at womanhood and still is not perfect, nor does she strive for perfection. Untamed shows you how to breathe at your own pace and reclaim your freedom to be yourself.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment" — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hi, my name is Sara Galapo. This is my first year as a writer for the University of Kansas Her Campus Chapter. I am a senior, studying business analytics in the fitness technology industry. I am excited to dip my toes into creative writing this year and hope to write a novel in the future. I use my experience in data analytics, investment banking, research, psychology, and student teaching roles to cover a variety of topics, including academics, career, lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, fashion, and beauty. This past summer, I spent mornings and evenings learning about street fashion in San Francisco on my daily commute to work.