I'm having a difficult time trying to think of an author that I aspire to in the Young Adult genre. I like different things about each book I feel is memorable. My favorite authors know how to use tension, weather through action or mystery to keep you wanting more. Usually I enjoy reading stories that have something supernatural or fantastical about the characters or location. I guess I've always been interested in things out of the ordinary. Also, I hate to admit it, but if a book doesn't capture me in the first few pages, I'll put it down. I'm a reader with an attention span of zero.
Lois Lowry is wonderful at telling you just enough to keep you reading right from the start, while using wonderfully vivid language. The Giver and Gossamer are two of my favorites, she really knows how to put you in the different worlds she creates.
I have to mention Stephenie Meyer, although I didn't totally connect with Bella. I didn't really believe some of her choices, but there sure was plenty of tension thanks to the love triangle and the action sequences. Meyer is a master at developing all of her characters and making the vampires/werewolves believable.
Another favorite author because of his use of tension and action in the Maximum Ride series is James Patterson. I admire authors who can keep track and fully develop all of those characters. I find it hard to concentrate on any beyond two. I guess I'll write my story first then add depth to the minor characters later.
I really need to be reading more, and I will aspire to find new favorites. I'd like to read some of the classics again, like Wuthering Heights; it's been way too long. Too many good authors to explore and too little time!