"I’m Not Broken is a book for survivors and those who know someone they hope survives, bodhisattvas all."  
—Sandra Cisneros

In this unflinching and inspiring memoir, Jesse Leon tells an extraordinary story of resilience and survival, shining a light on a childhood spent devastated by sex trafficking, street life, and substance abuse.

 
Born to indigenous working-class Mexican immigrants in San Diego in the 1970s, Jesse Leon’s childhood was violently ruptured. A dangerous and harrowing encounter at a local gift shop when he was eleven years old left Jesse with a deadly secret. Hurt, alone, and scared for his life, Jesse numbed his pain by losing himself in the hyper-masculine culture of the streets and wherever else he could find it—in alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. Overlooked by state-sanctioned institutions and systems intended to help victims of abuse, neglected like many other low-income Latinos, Jesse spiraled into cycles of suicide and substance abuse.
 
I’m Not Broken is the heartbreaking and remarkable story of the journey Jesse takes to win back his life, leading him to the steps of Harvard University. From being the lone young person of color in Narcotics Anonymous meetings to coming to terms with his own sexual identity, to becoming an engaged mentor for incarcerated youth, Jesse finds the will to live with the love and support of his family, friends, and mentors. Recounting the extraordinary circumstances of his life, Jesse offers a powerful, raw testament to the possibilities of self-transformation and self-acceptance. Unforgettable, I’m Not Broken is an inspirational portrait of one young man’s indomitable strength and spirit to survive—against all possible odds.
"I’m Not Broken is a book for survivors and those who know someone they hope survives, bodhisattvas all."  
—Sandra Cisneros

“A book detailing Mr. Leon’s battles against unparalleled circumstances, from poverty to addiction to assault, can be at once a critical look at the ways in which we fail young people in our communities and also a story of how, by the grace of God, we find in our midst a man like Jesse Leon, making sacrifices so that others might not suffer.”
—Tarell Alvin McCraney, Academy Award winner for Moonlight
 
“This emotionally unyielding memoir recounts a life lived with no shortage of harrowing experiences, but also a life renewed thanks to a profound inner strength and an unrelenting determination to overcome.”
—Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
 
I'm Not Broken is a powerful reminder that the human spirit can truly be resilient when it's fed by faith, love and hope.”
—Pedro Noguera, Dean of the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education

"A raw, emotional memoir filled with highs and lows. The inspirational ending gives readers hope when Leon uses his self-will and determination to change and accept the love from those around him."
Library Journal, starred review

"Viscerally moving . . . A remarkable story of fortitude and personal transformation."
Kirkus Reviews

"A staggering tale of survival . . . Leon’s story of resilience pulsates with verve and breathtaking grace. The result is a gripping portrait of perseverance that radiates with humanity."
Publishers Weekly