I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
And while this can be read first, it makes much, much more sense to read Warm Bodies first. The characters, the way they intersect in each others lives, is meaningless unless you read the broader story that came first.
This includes a lot of backstory, a lot of motivation for friendships, a lot of material that backs up the novel. But it's also its own revelation, it's own exploration of the world Marion's created for us.
The same gorgeous prose that I loved so much in Warm Bodies is present here. That same painful awareness of the highs and lows of life permeates this novella. But it doesn't quite have the same impact the first one does, not when I think of it as a standalone: the impact is created in conjunction with Warm Bodies.
Lovely, lovely story, but I'd read Warm Bodies first if you haven't already.
My review of Warm Bodies can be found here: Warm Bodies Review.