Crippled from a childhood injury, Atlatl is unable to hunt with the other men. While he’s smart, it takes hunting prowess to be considered a man in his clan. After rescuing a saber tooth cub from a dire wolf attack and bringing it to live with him, he is accused of angering the gods. Then disaster strikes when a great flood sweeps through his valley. With only his wits and his saber tooth cub, Atlatl chooses to make the dangerous journey across unknown terrain into the realm of the gods to demand answers.
Clan is a very enjoyable coming-of-age story set in prehistoric times. Atlatl is shunned by his clansmen and taunted by his cousin for his deformity. He doesn’t fit in society, and this thread is handled with empathy. Atlatl’s companion through his trials is his loyal saber tooth cub, who young readers will adore. The landscape and its dangers are well defined during Atlatl’s trek to the realm of gods. However, the emotional currents are a bit shallow. There are a couple of powerful moments that just didn’t pull at my heart strings as I’d hoped. Despite this, I was drawn to the story and very much enjoyed Brouwer’s characters. The author has created a hard-to-put-down middle-grade tale about redemption, relationships, and believing in yourself. Recommended.