Johanna Förster: Circus of Dreams

A magical new voice in young adult literature.

Author: Johanna Förster
Finnish original: Unien sirkus
Publisher: S&S, 2024
Genre: ya fiction
Number of pages: 280 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sampl
e, English synopsis

Autumn and the school year have just started, but seventeen-year-old Juuli’s head and feet already feel heavy. Especially her head. On her way to work, Juuli happens upon a fox in the street. Following behind it is a Watcher, who luckily doesn’t notice her helping the fox escape.

The everyday world becomes strangely fractured when the same fox, Eduardo Silver, starts appearing in Juuli’s dreams. In them, she’s in a circus. But are her dreams really dreams?
Around this same time, Juuli befriends the street artist and activist Niko, his sister Nini and his old friend Iida. For a while, everything feels new and full of possibilities, but then something terrible happens.

Juuli sets out to find her friends, crossing a continent that has changed in peculiar ways. While on her journey she returns to forgotten childhood memories of a circus that was destroyed in a fire. She embarks on an amazing adven ture where she meets her own self, her missing father, and events from the past.

This multilayered story transports readers to the totalitarian Europe of the recent future, to a magical parallel world, and into Juuli’s memories. These are woven together to form a place where the falsehood of a restrictive environment is juxtaposed against joy and imagination. In The Circus of Dreams, the world, and the human mind, feel lavishly multidimensional – wondrous, tragic, and beautiful.

About the author:
Johanna Förster