That's my question of the day.
Almost all the "How To" blogs I've seen say prologues are a no-go, that they're just a backstory/info dump, that whatever you need to say can and should be said in the first chapter. In fact, many industry-types think the real start of your story is somewhere around what you currently call chapter 3-4.
But if prologues are dead, and agents/editors/publishers truly don't want to see them, then why do so many recent YA books (and some very popular, mind you) still have them?
Here are a few examples (sorry, I'm too lazy to include the links):
Becca Fitzpatrick--Hush, Hush
Bree Despain--The Dark Divine
Lauren Oliver--Before I Fall
Rachel Hawkins--Hex Hall
Simon Holt--The Devouring
Sara Zarr--Story of a Girl
Lisa Mangum--The Hourglass Door
Stephanie Kuehnert--Ballads of Suburbia
And, of course, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn ... all by some girl no one's ever heard of.
I admit, I have a soft spot for prologues. Always have. But do they add to the story, or are they just a cheap plot device for a story that falls flat in chapter 1?
My personal opinion? Sometimes prologues work, sometimes they don't (immensely helpful, I know). But as for me, I think I'm going to take the advise of someone whose opinion really matters: my 15-year-old cousin-in-law, Jenna (who reads like a crazy person and is way too pretty for her own good).
When I loaned Jenna Hush, Hush (which she loved), I asked her if she thought the prologue was a little weird. She said, "Oh, I don't read prologues. I just skip over them and start with the first chapter. I figure if it's that important or if I get confused or whatever, I can come back to it later."
I don't know about you guys, but that's all the information I need.