I've been hearing a lot about this manga (which is also an anime and a live action movie, now) so I took the opportunity at Erica's cousins' to read Volume 1. So, yes, I can understand the appeal to high school misfits -- Japanese high schooler Light Yagami finds a "Death Note" dropped by a Shinigami ("death god") and decides to use the powers of the note to cleanse the earth of evil doers. Half the book reads like a late night 'philosophical' discussion as Light tests the increasingly detailed rules governing the use of the Note.
I guess this was the first translated-but-not-inverted manga I've read and I was surprised at how quickly I adapted to reading right-to-left. Neato.