It held up pretty well as a stand alone, I had no idea there was anything more to it until I finished and was looking up the author, but after reading the blurbs about the first two I felt like I would have gotten more out of it if I'd read them in order.
The Blurb from Goodreads:
It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth's climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.This was a stark story of survival with no happy ending or magical solutions to the problems at hand, and it's one of the things I appreciated the most about This World We Live In. Sometimes it's good to read something slightly unresolved, only sometimes mind you, but sometimes its good to be left thinking of what happens next without being told. Goodness knows Susan Pfeffer wasn't hesitant to get ugly and hurt people, and in this type of dystopian novel I would be disappointed if she didn't.
The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda's father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda's complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.
My main bone of contention was how remote the characters seemed for most of the book. Of course once I realized there were two previous books, it made a bit more sense. In all likely hood you fall in love with them in, Life As We Knew It, and The Dead and the Gone. All I had to do was read the blurb for The Dead and the Gone and suddenly I felt like I had a better grasp on Alex and his sister. But as far as reading This World We Live In as a stand alone, it made it hard to feel the emotional attachment you needed to get worked about the roller coaster these folks are on.
In the end my advice is to read the series in order, I've seen loads of reviews raving about them, and while I was intrigued with The World We Live In, I wasn't engrossed, so it seems likely the story is much stronger as a series then as stand alones. Also? It would be awesome if Graphia mentioned somewhere on the jacket that the book in your hand is part two or part three of a series. Why make it a mystery if the books hold up better together? Also, it means selling three books instead of one, so win win.
This World We Live In (part 3 of the Last Survivors series), by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Published by Graphia, April 2010
Buy This World We Live In on Amazon, and while you're there, buy Life As We Knew It (book 1), and The Dead and the Gone (book 2).