Juanita Freedom Seeker: Volume 1

Though the choice seems simple, Juanita is torn. What is freedom really, if you’re separated from those you love?  Does living the life of a wealthy socialite mean turning her back on her poor family?  Does she have the courage to face up to the rich girls who bully her in her new school?


Juanita, Freedom Seeker is a story of love, despair, and liberation.  Enjoy Juanita’s spunk as well as her serious side as she straddles the class barrier on her way to adulthood in San Carlos.  She shares many valuable lessons to all, regardless of age, seeking freedom to transcend limits.


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12 reviews for Juanita Freedom Seeker: Volume 1

  1. Michael Daigle

    “Juanita Freedom Seeker” is an uplifting and heartwarming story about the escape from poverty for teenager Juanita and her honest family.

    Juanita is a teen-ager living with her hardworking family on the poor side of town. She has dreams of being something and someone else. She dreams of freedom. “Juanita Freedom Seeker” by Juan Cenon Marasigan tells of her journey from the crowded tenement where she lives with her family to her new life. The story is part fairy tale and part mortality play. Life is hard in the tenement, but not gruesome. Hard work is rewarded. And no one is fully bad or good.

    The story takes place in San Carlos, a sprawling city that is presented in exquisite detail by Marasigan without judgment. Both sides of the city – the poor side and the rich side – are mere sides of life. The setting adds to the generally pleasant nature of the story.

    Juanita is the complex character in the story. She is a teenager on the cusp of womanhood. She seeks freedom from poverty, wants a boyfriend and to grow and learn. Yet she is tied to her family through love and devotion. Her desire to escape poverty is fueled when she is unable to secure two different jobs to help her family. Her escape comes through the intervention of a rich family, Don Rico Mendez, her mother’s employer, and his wife, Dona Mendez. The change makes Juanita both happy and troubled. She is excited for her new life, but worried about her family and how much she will miss them.

    Marasigan presents a pleasant, simple story. Sometimes too simple. Juanita is seeking freedom and by gum, she will get it. Still, there is nothing wrong with a story that shows the rewards of hard work, and the importance of faith and family. Good things can happen to good people. But life (and fiction) is more complex than it is presented here.

  2. Norma Villanueva

    Kudos to Juan Cenon Marasigan for his excellent debut novel! The
    plot, sub-plots, settings, and character portrayal (especially the protagonist’s)
    are all captivating and authentic. I highly recommend this
    fiction for both young and older adults because social and family
    values of love and forgiveness are gleaned from it.

  3. Jackie Siddall

    A thought-provoking rags-to-riches tale exploring the value of personal
    sacrifice for the greater good of her family and community,
    and how love can drive us to strive to be the best version of ourselves

  4. Cindy Savage

    Juan Cenon Marasigan has captured a moment in time with Juanita
    Freedom Seeker. His poignant portrayal of Juanita’s desire to lift
    herself and her family out of poverty paints an accurate picture
    of the challenges that face anyone wishing to achieve a goal while
    holding onto dearly cherished values. Mature beyond her years,
    yet naïve about the world beyond her neighborhood, she struggles,
    and ultimately overcomes, dilemmas that adults would not want to
    face—leaving her family, rising above the shame of her background,
    the lure of wealth, and the temptation to betray. Juanita’s personal
    battles offer lessons of character in Marasigan’s heartfelt and engagingly
    innocent debut novel.

  5. Tony S.M.

    I enjoyed reading the book and I can personally relate to Juanita’s life
    story. I once heard someone say, “Freedom isn’t free!” This person
    sacrificed so much to secure my freedom.

    Tony S.M.

  6. Timothy James

    A charming tale of maturity, new beginnings, and the importance of
    love and family.

  7. Roger Elmes

    This is a fascinating first novel, a compelling read that held my interest
    throughout the main plot and all the twists and turns of the subplots.
    Written from the perspective of a mature and intelligent 16-year-old
    girl, it deals with struggles that few people face – moving from poverty
    to riches. Dr. Marasigan in his work of fiction blends insights from his
    professional studies in examining the struggles his Juanita overcomes.

  8. Pat Fine

    Even though Juanita comes from a different cultural background
    and a unique “two-family” situation, the uncertainties regarding
    personal relationships and future plans that she exhibits are typical
    of teenagers worldwide. In spite of the conflicting lifestyles she
    experiences, she remains steadfast and true to herself. This is a
    thoughtful book that elicits sympathy for a young girl faced with
    unusual decisions.

  9. Kathy McKay

    Juanita is both a strong and empathetic character who offers a positive
    role model for young girls during the difficult time of adolescence.

  10. Janice Siddall

    I enjoyed reading a glimpse of life in San Carlos from 2 perspectives.
    Juanita is a great role model for young girls today. She’s
    beyond her years in maturity and yet still has the same struggles
    as most teenagers. Her love of family taught her to ‘rise above.’ A
    great lesson for all of us.

  11. Connie Nicholson

    Fun, easy-reading with delightful, lovable main characters…hard to
    put it down from the start.

  12. Catherine Cella

    The book is a very good easy read. I enjoyed all the characters and
    looked forward to turning each page as the story unfolded.

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