Ask Him Why tells the story of Ruth, a 15 year old, her 13-year-old brother Aubrey, and their older brother Joseph. Joseph is serving overseas in Baghdad when a decision he makes thrusts everyone in his family into the media and tears the family apart. This one action leads to series of events that will change Ruth and Aubrey's lives forever.
Some books grab you with the setting, and others do with the characters. In this case, it is the situation that kept me hooked. The exact details into the decision Joseph makes is really kept secret for some length of time, so there's that to keep you reading. It's the family dynamics that I found most absorbing. This isn't a likable family for the most part and Ruth cues the reader to this early on with her statement about how they convinced themselves they were ever together in the first place.
The book takes place in two time periods. The time surrounding Joseph's unforgivable act while in the military and then a decade later when Ruth is now a mother and can look at things from a different point of view. I found myself enjoying the present far more than the past. Perhaps because at that point, the adults that ticked me off in the first place where mostly absent from the story.
This brings me to how the story left me feeling. That's the difficult aspect. I wasn't as taken with the characters in Ask Him Why as I have been with the characters in past Catherine Ryan Hyde novels. I had a harder time connecting with anyone in this story, and as a result, I just didn't find it as mesmerizing. It's good, but not one that will have me thinking about it months from now.