What is so unique about Ayn Rand Novels?

Ayn Rand novels have long been reported as life-changing experiences. Why? What is so different about these novels? Why have they been having such a profound effect on readers ( young ones especially! ) for 50 years, in the case of Atlas Shrugged, and more than 60 years, in the case of The Fountainhead?
I can very well recall the her characters were so inspiring when i read her novels, but so are the characters in many other novels and films—admirable characters who overcome difficulties, believe in themselves, refuse to give up. What makes her characters so different?
Was it idealism, objectiveness or the tussle between altruism and selfishness?
What is so special about Ayn Rand???
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